When Lanya Snyder was a teenager, she had a thing for friendship bracelets. But all that braiding and knotting fell by the wayside when, after visiting Arthur Elgort’s studio at sixteen, the Pittsburgh native scored herself a job for the Vogue photographer—and, so enamored with the art, decided to head to Bard to develop her own skills behind the lens. After a few post-college years spent shooting in the fashion and editorial realms, Lanya found herself between projects and back in New York after some time in California. So she reached for the thread and beads again—and, just like in high school, she couldn’t put them down.
Though commercial photography is behind her now, Lanya credits those years of working in dark rooms, dipping prints in chemical after chemical, with showing her the stoichiometry behind creating a product: loading up on the technical first, and mixing it with your own aesthetics later. Most of the bracelets for her line ORA are woven from silk because, unlike cotton, it doesn’t fray, and they feature custom-cast beads in a variety of precious metals because, well, that’s how Lanya likes ‘em. “The idea is that you can share them with your friends, wear them by themselves or as a stack,” she says. “We’re going to do different stones and different shapes soon.” Which is basically just an excuse to pile on a dozen. —jiayi ying
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Though Lisa Levine probably wouldn’t consider herself as much of a businesswoman as a healer, hand-crafting jewelry has always been lucrative for the Pittsburgh native—both spiritually and in the more standard, money-in-the-bank sense. “When I was a child, I could draw or paint or create to help me clear any bad emotions,” Lisa says in her six-inch voice. “I started making jewelry as a little kid and even selling it.”
Before taking things further as an adult and opening her eponymous Metropolitan Avenue jewelry store in Brooklyn in 2005, Lisa spent a year at Parsons and later shipped off to San Miguel de Allende—an idyllic artist community in Mexico—to study silversmithing with the legendary Billy King.
After a three-year run, Lisa closed her store and took “a 90% break” from designing to focus on breath work and Reiki more intensively, and now her cozy Greenpoint loft is home to a healing center, a yoga and meditation space, and her design studio. The jewelry thing is such a part of who she is that trying to escape it would be plain silly—luckily, all of her endeavors, with their open-endedness, meld together quite nicely. Or, as she puts it, “There’s a lot of positivity and healing that goes into making the jewelry. You can feel if there’s love in it.” —lauren caruso