April 18, 2014

Mind Behind the Design: Metal Smith’s Isabella Behravan


We’ve always been told that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. San Francisco-based designer Isabella Behravan is challenging this long-held belief with her innovative use of metals in her new jewelry line, Metal Smith. Give her a little time, and she may even disprove that whole diamond theory altogether.

After peeping her pieces during a recent visit to Ver Unica boutique in Hayes Valley, we were immediately intrigued and had to know more about this new local designer and her marvelous metals. Behravan is a born and bred San Franciscan raised in the heart of Russian Hill, and, like any seasoned city gal, she knows these city streets like the back of her hand.

After high school Behravan escaped to Upstate New York for a change of climate and scenery where she attended Bard College. But four years later, she soon found the City by the Bay calling her name.

Manager at Ver Unica for three years and counting, Behravan is in the midst of launching Metal Smith’s debut collection. It may be her first line, but she’s been at the jewelry designing game for quite some time. Behravan initially began creating pieces for herself after not finding jewelry she wanted to wear. Determined to sport pieces she was proud to call her own, Behravan immediately went to work.
Drawing inspiration from her surroundings, the elements, architecture and her love for the craftsmanship and impeccable detail in vintage clothing, Behravan carefully handcrafts each and every Metal Smith design. Her first collection boasts an array of earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets with clean lines, subtle colors and bold shapes.
We sat down with Behravan to get the skinny on Metal Smith, dish about life in San Francisco and, of course, talk fashion.

What inspired you to start your own jewelry line?

I began making pieces that I wanted to wear because I wasn’t finding jewelry that felt natural and right for me out in the world. So I created pieces that I would want to wear everyday, not to go with an outfit but to make me feel a certain way. I quickly realized I wanted to share the jewelry I was creating.

What types of designs are you drawn to when creating your pieces?

I look to architecture, vintage pieces from my personal collection, and nature for inspiration. Shadows and empty space often play a big role in my design process.

What materials are your favorite to work with?

I love working with all types of metal. I love to see it do unexpected things and transform into something new. I’ve never worked with anything quite like it before; it’s amazing to create jewelry from something so strong with your hands.

When you’re not designing jewelry, what else do you do?

I hangout with my dog, Dirt. I also love going to thrift stores and antique shops to seek out hidden treasures.

What are your favorite shops or destinations in SF? Where are your go-to places to find independent, local apparel and jewelry designers?

My perfect day in San Francisco would start at Sight Glass Coffee, because it is such a beautiful place, where – if I could have a work bench in their loft – I could honestly work for hours upon hours a day. Then I’d take the N Judah to General Store, which has a beautifully curated collection of things. I’d finish the day with a walk with Dirt down to Union Made to check out their beautiful textiles. It is rare to see a shop with such perfectly selected pieces, particularly in men’s.

What is the one accessory you cannot live without?

My sunglasses. They’re circular frame 1960’s Christian Dior. I think that whoever owned them before me changed one of the lenses because they’re two different colors. One lens is a little more rosy and the other is a little more yellowy. When I wear them, anything that’s red looks totally psychedelic!

What is next for Metal Smith?

Metalsmith.com! And I am very excited about stones right now. I have some pieces in mind that will involve new colored and textured stones that will complement the metal work I’ve been designing.

To check out Metal Smith’s first collection stop by Ver Unica boutique for the Metal Smith Trunk Show this Friday, October 14th from 6-9pm.

Photography courtesy of Metal Smith

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