I recently had the privilege of spending time with Young-Eun Jo, founder and designer of jewelry line MONA by Lusso. Jo is based in Seoul, Korea, but her work retails worldwide to an “in the know” type of buyer and collector. On a recent trip to New York, Jo and I met and caught up while window shopping and checking out the current state of the luxury and better jewelry market. Aside from being incredibly gracious, Jo is creative and clever; she retains full control of her work (which is a mixture of gold, diamonds, pearls and precious stones) and knows where and how to place it. Here is her story:
“I have been interested and somewhat captivated by things that sparkle since I was a child; I used to like to look into my mother’s jewelry boxes all the time.
In university, I majored in business management. However, it became hard for me to do something I didn’t really have a passion for. So, basically I “followed my dream” and headed to the Gemological Institute of America’s campus in California and studied to be a Graduate Jeweler Gemologist. I completed the degree in 1997 and went back home to Seoul, where I opened my first shop in 1999.
“Lusso” is my brand’s name that I produce in Seoul. Mona, my daughter is my greatest inspiration. She is now five years old; since having her, I see things in a totally new perspective, too. As a person, I am actually more confident and peaceful than ever.
When I’m designing, my true inspiration is nature and the organisms of a particular stone. My works also reflect my Korean origins and its philosophy, which is that a harmony and balance with nature is a work of art.
Korea is one of the most attractive jewelry markets in the world, despite the recent decline in jewelry sales the past few years. But the very high-end jewelry market is still thriving despite a sluggish economic climate.
At some point, a shop in New York City would be great. Now, I am hoping to get more exposure and eventually retail in New York.”Back to Blog