Courtney Williams’ journey to owning Bella Argentina, her own jewelry collection, has been anything but ordinary. She wanted to embody the beauty of the country she fell in love with through hand-crafted jewelry. Argentina’s culture and people give off an aura of romance and passion for life. Her line, full of the highest quality silver and gemstones, illustrates Argentina’s way of life through delicate, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Tell us about your journey as a jewelry designer.
“I really got into design when I was in high school. I studied at the design program at the Chicago Institute of Art, and that’s where I really fell in love with it.”
Courtney went from Chicago to the University of Arizona, where she majored in international marketing. This led her to an internship in Ghana working with local entrepreneurs. When she came back to the US, she did a complete 180 and moved to Los Angeles for 2 years. Her journey in international affairs continued when she was accepted into the MBA program at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
“As an extension of my last course project with Thunderbird, I created my own jewelry company in Argentina. At the end my teacher was like, “Wow, you should really consider pursuing this and move to Argentina and do this,’ and I was like… Okay!”
Making a move this monumental is not for the faint of heart. Courtney’s admiration for her professor (who happened to be the inventor of Crest Spinbrush!) gave her the courage to pursue her love of design.
“Jewelry is my favorite thing and you got to go where your heart is.”
During all her other fashion endeavors, Courtney felt like something was missing. Although she loved the clothes and handbags that she helped market in Ghana and as a part of Thunderbird, she knew she would be her happiest designing jewelry, despite the challenges she was bound to face.
What specific challenges come with designing jewelry?
“The turn around time for jewelry is a lot faster than it is for clothes. Clothing has seasonability, but it’s not quite as pronounced as it is with jewelry. The entire color story can change season to season with jewelry, as well as the mood and the materials used. The change is more drastic with jewelry than it is with clothing.”
What is the inspiration behind this collection?
“Tango is the main inspiration for me…It’s very sensual and passionate, and that’s really the part of Argentina that drives me the most”
“There’s an amazing fountain of natural resources [in Argentina] in terms of silver, awesome gemstones that we never get in the US, and amazing artisans”
“I’m like a tapestry, I’m mixed with a lot of different things and that really influences me in my design view.”
Courtney has so many inspirations that all branch off of her original love of Argentina. There are so many cultural aspects that she has had the opportunity to explore, and has found a way to incorporate all of her fascinations into a line that artfully portrays the romance that this country has to offer.
What type of girl is drawn to these pieces?
“The woman that is cosmopolitan: either in the sense that she has traveled or she wants to travel or feel exotic in the items that she wears; basically to live an exotic life through her appearance.”
A woman who is well-traveled has seen so many cultures and ideas of beauty that in turn are reflected in her personal taste. Courtney’s eclectic line showcases the invaluable experience one gains by seeing the world. Each gemstone is unique, most are foreign to the US, and every design has it’s own Argentine inspiration.
What are your future goals for Bella Argentina?
“I’m working towards fair trade certification… A lot of the fair trade materials aren’t higher end; they don’t do a lot of work with sterling silver or anything like that. I like to be one of the few that is higher end and fair trade certified.”
“I’d also love to build a brand to a point where I’m able to branch off into handbags, maybe in the next 3 or 4 years.”
We loved learning more about the behind the scenes world of high-end jewelry design. Bella Argentina brings a unique aesthetic to the Arizona market. Courtney is beyond excited to show her collection in October as a part of Phoenix Fashion Week. If you simply can’t wait until then, visit www.bellaargentina.com/ and follow her on Twitter: @Bella_Argentina