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Q&A with Cristy Cali of Cristy Cali

When did you start designing?
I started designing for my mom’s shop, Sterling Silvia, when I was 16.

How have your designs changed?
My first designs were more literal – streetcars and pelicans – now they’re more contemporary. They are wearable and fashionable but still reflect my home state.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere: history books, architecture, everyday things. My favorite? Any local museum.

What’s it like being an entrepreneur in NOLA?
Amazing. It seems like almost everyone is one, one way or another. It’s a very supportive environment.

What’s your favorite piece that you’ve ever designed?
That’s tough. It’s a tie between my Sugar Skull and my Magnolia. I also love my Collage Cuff that Sen. Mary Landrieu often wears.

Where is your jewelry made?
The production takes place in Thailand. Everything else takes place in my home office.

What do you think makes it special?
I’m local and the money stays here. I’m active in the community. I donate a lot of jewelry and sales from certain pieces to local organizations. Also, everyone has a favorite local artist.

Why do you think people like gifts from New Orleans?
New Orleanians are a different breed of people. I think after Katrina happened we realized how blessed we are and we became 10 times more proud than we were before.

Is your jewelry affordable?
Yes, my jewelry starts at $10, with the majority averaging around $75 or less.

What is your most popular piece?
My Sideways Fleur de Lis necklace and some custom pieces I made for Aerosmith last year.

Cristy Cali Jewelry

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