How a Chance Encounter in New York City Uncovered a Passion and Led to a Successful Career in Jewelry-Making and Design
Yumiko Hamasuna was born and raised in Tokyo and moved to New York City in the late 80s. Here she shares how a childhood interest evolved to a love of jewelry design and became her full-time profession. Through a chance meeting with David Benlolo she became one of his first students in 2004 which began a longtime successful collaboration.
Yumiko, were you always artistic? How did you develop an interest in jewelry-making and design?
Since 2004, that is a long time!
When did you decide to start selling your jewelry?
Do you still sell your jewelry in Tokyo?
David’s school sounds quite different from other jewelry schools?
There is no other place where I can learn such advanced skills with such intensity. He doesn’t have a school “textbook” method where everyone is forced to follow the same curriculum and he covers much more than other places. He covers mechanical design, fabrication techniques, gemology, process management and lots more. It's all hands-on, semi-private lessons where we can focus on our own projects. David’s studio is filled by his “can do” energy all the time. I greatly respect his professionalism and passion for jewelry-making.
David also finds beautiful stones for me. Through his contacts and travels he has an amazing selection of precious and semi-precious stones. It’s good he offers them at below wholesale prices.
After all these years are you still learning new things?
It sounds like it has been a very positive collaboration with David all these years. Before we go, how would you describe your personal style? Where can people find you?
I like to make “everyday” pieces of jewelry – rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings. I also make anniversary and engagement rings but I have always felt women need to feel beautiful all the time so they need different pieces of jewelry for “everyday” – even for different outfits. Wearing jewelry is fun and can cheer you up. Lastly, I appreciate the opportunity that David gave me. It is a great pleasure for me to be a part of this.