Student Spotlight: Bianca de Quesada of BGD Gems

By Kendyl Kirtley

Who doesn’t love to support a student-run business? Bianca de Quesada is a sophomore art major at SMU who not only designs her own jewelry but owns and operates her own business! Her brand BGD Gems, offers original and handmade necklaces, bracelets, and rings crafted by Bianca herself. I sat down with Bianca to chat about her design process, jewelry must-haves, and experience creating a small business while in college. 

KK: What sparked your passion for art and jewelry design?

BD: “My mom had really beautiful jewelry growing up and so I would love to look at it, wear it. And that eventually turned into me wanting to make stuff like that.”

KK: When did you start your business BGD Gems?

BD: “I unofficially started my business in middle school by selling beaded bracelets and necklaces. Summer going into my freshman year of high school, I created an LLC and a website, but soon after I found that social media was a more efficient and less costly way of selling jewelry.”

KK: Tell me about your jewelry design process. 

BD: “I like to get inspiration from reading magazines and going to jewelry stores like Stanley Korshak. They have beautiful jewelry from all kinds of different artists. And I also like to incorporate art into my jewelry. I enjoy exploring different mediums. I first started with stringing beads, and I graduated to more precious stones and a little more expensive materials…Now I’m experimenting with crocheting wire and I hope to make something unique with that.”

KK: Where do you source your materials from?

BD: “I’m originally from Miami, so when I visit, I make sure to go to the jewelry district and buy from different wholesale stores there. Otherwise, I purchase supplies from Etsy shops. However, I prefer to go in person so I can see the quality of the item.” 

KK: What is your favorite piece of jewelry you’ve created?

BD: “Definitely my double knuckle ring from my internship at Hoorsenbuhs over this past summer in Santa Monica. They let me create a wax mold of the ring and then they casted it for me using 18 karat gold and three turquoise stones from their personal collection. I’m so grateful to have had that opportunity.”

KK: How would you describe your personal style?

BD: “I feel like a beautiful piece of jewelry can really pull an outfit together. So you can have basic clothing pieces from let’s say, Zara, Aritzia or Gap. But then if you add a piece of jewelry to it, it takes the outfit  to a whole other level. I love colorful, classy, youthful yet sophisticated pieces that compliment my outfit of the day.” 

KK: Favorite fashion trend?

BD: “I’ve always loved fringe. I love that leather fringe look even on cross bodies like handbags and jackets. Maybe we can incorporate it into jewelry one day.”

KK: As an art major, do you want to do something with art or jewelry making in your future?

BD: “Definitely. I want to go into the jewelry industry, but SMU doesn’t have a learning program for jewelry design and creation. As of now, I’m familiarizing myself with the industry by doing internships with different jewelry companies and taking classes at the Gemological Institute of America. And right now I’m taking a course called jewelry essentials. So I’m trying to do everything I can to get there.”

KK: What is your jewelry or fashion must-have? 

BD: “I feel like Huggie earrings are a staple. I love them, they’re simple, elegant, and understated.” 

Check out Bianca’s jewelry on her Etsy storefront and her Instagram page @bgd_gems!  

All Photos by Kendyl Kirtley and Bianca de Quesada

Kendyl Kirtley

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