Fine jewelry designer Lepa Galeb-Roskopp spoke with us at the Couture Show at Wynn Las Vegas about her fine jewelry brand Misahara and her philanthropic journey. Her artistic process, inspiration and close attention not only to the aesthetic of her jewelry but also to the implications tied to her brand and designs showcase her ability to produce beautiful pieces while making a positive impact on the world through her artistry.
She shared her involvement in non-profit work as well as the importance of responsible sourcing of materials. Galeb-Roskopp made it clear that her designs are much more that accessories, but tell a story and go through the journey of life with it's wearers.
Q: Did you ever consider jewelry design prior to being encouraged and nudged by your husband to branch out to create your own line?
A: I had an interest in fashion because I spent a lot of time in Europe growing up and my family is from Europe. My grandma was a diplomat in Paris so I spent a lot of time there. Fashion was such a part of me but I pursued the family business initially.
Q: How does your line embody nostalgia, heritage, personality and a sense of self for the consumer?
A: Every collection is different based on my experiences throughout the world, however the influence comes from the Balkan culture, my roots growing up. The Drina collection comes from the Yugoslavia Drina River. A lot of collections are inspired by experiences in my family's homeland.
Q: How does international travel shape your designs and artistry?
A: Being exposed to other cultures influences my designs. I spend a lot of time in Africa, so from Serengeti and South Africa my jewelry is inspired from. All my collections have some type of inspiration from abroad.
Q: Your designs are so unique and fun. There is an element of play to them that uplifts the viewer and the wearer. Can you expand on how you transform fine materials to fun and expressive jewelry pieces?
A: I always wanted to be different from everyone else, I'm a bit of a rebel…When I have an idea I am inspired and I start putting it into a design. [I] always think about stones [and their respective meanings] and color hues [and their respective meanings].
[My] Chain City collection is based on cityscapes like Rome, Paris and New York. I use diamonds for New York for the bling [aspect of the glittering lights]. I used brushed gold for Rome because of the Byzantine Roman roots. [When I am] creating based on interpretation [I] put into play the stones, the colors of the metals, the hues and the gems used.
Q: How is it that you wish to influence people to wear their jewelry daily instead of saving pieces for special occasions?
A: Jewelry stays on your body and no matter what you go through in the course of a day, weeks or months, something that's so close to your heart and your body goes through this journey with you. [Despite] the designer’s story, you are creating your own story for that piece through your own experiences.
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Q: Can you elaborate more on the True Cause Foundation and the proceeds that go towards financial, educational and healthcare aid for children?
A: It was originally established because we were doing a lot of work in South Africa with a school in the Zulu Natal district. It evolved to where we were doing work in Monte Negro with the children in the playgrounds.
Since COVID our foundation has merged with another 501(c)(3). We are [including] soccer for children since soccer has become unaffordable for many in the nation. These children are unbelievably talented and want to play the game.
[Our involvement] gives them money to travel and compete. We are hoping for a professional team in 2024 but no guarantee. We are partnered with Ferrari [so their support may help bring this to fruition].
Q: Which pieces are you most excited about that you are showing at the Couture Show?
A: There is quite a bit of newness that I am excited about. The merge with the Ice Reimagined and Chain City. It’s meaningful; it's based off of the chainlinks that we collected from around the world…a little bling bling, some yellow, white and rose gold.
Q: What are the most important aspects to know about Misahara?
A: The ethics of giving back is so essential. The storytelling is so huge for me and really important from a philosophical standpoint about jewelry and how it speaks to you and the ethical responsibilities we have as designers.
Some of our partners [provide us] their emeralds. [The stones] are magnificently beautiful and [our partners] give back to the communities that they source from. Through jewelry design I have the opportunity to share stories and be ethically responsible for what I put out there.
Photography by: Courtesy of Misahara