Trickster Profile
Interviewed by Anne Vetik

Trickster Profiles is a series of interviews with talented humans from all over the world. What is the secret of creativity? Let’s find out! ↓

Back in her teens Anni hit it off as a fashion blogger. Feathery ear-cuffs that she was making and selling on Etsy ended up in Vogue. Talented young woman went on to study jewelry design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. How is Jürgenson doing now, and what keeps her going?

Age, education, where were you born, and where do you live?

I’m 28 years old and hold an associate degree in Jewelry Design. I was born in Tartu, Estonia, and I've lived in New York for almost 8 years.

Are you a practical person or more of a dreamer?

95% practical, need to work on that dreaming big part more!

When and why you started experimenting with jewelry?

I’ve been very crafty since I can remember, but I think I started experimenting with jewelry more seriously when I was about 14 years old. That’s when I started selling my work at local fairs and opened my first Etsy shop. I had initially wanted to become a fashion designer but quickly realized that sewing clothes is not my thing. I was operating my own jewelry brand and online store from home for a few years till I decided to go and study jewelry design.

Photos By Fan Chen

University studies, biggest lessons?

I studied jewelry design at the Fashion Institute of Technology here in New York. Biggest lesson? — Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help. I’m naturally shy and missed out on a lot because I was afraid to take up space and ask “stupid” questions.

What made you successful in such a competitive field as design?

What set me apart in the school early on was that I came from a fashion background and had a good understanding of current aesthetics and trends. This was fundamental for landing my first job out of school as a jewelry designer at Ana Luisa where I’m still to this day. Jewelry is its own niche world, but definitely has a lot of overlap with fashion.

What makes a good design?

When it comes to jewelry, a good design is the one that becomes an extension of the body. Something you wear and won’t even notice, it’s comfortable and feels natural on the body. A good design finds harmony between being perfect and being a little bit off. I recently came across a quote by Francis Bacon that encapsulates this notion perfectly - “ There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. ” (“Of beauty” 1597)

Describe your first visit to NYC?

I got very lucky and was able to visit New York when I was 16 years old to try out modeling. I came here completely alone and stayed at a model apartment in Manhattan. Everything was big and new! Most of it is a blur by now, but I clearly remember I was the most excited about going to MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art) to finally check out all the famous artworks I had learned about in my art history classes. It was a dream come true! I also remember coming across Nan Goldin's exhibition Scopophilia at a gallery in Chelsea that left a lasting impression on me. 13 years later I still refer back to it at times.

I kept coming back for work trips, and in 2016 I decided to make it official and move here. 

What makes NYC special for you?

The constant flow of energy — it never stops, there’s always something going on, something new to discover and try out. The sense of community here is strong, and there’s one for everyone. It took me a few years, but I finally found “my people”, “my family away from home” from the local street dance community. Together we go to underground house music parties or gather in parks in the summer to express ourselves in movement — emphasis is really on dancing, not so much on drinking and partying.

How does your typical day look?

For the past four years I’ve had a hybrid schedule and I work either from home or go into the office. Despite having a creative job, I still have a pretty stringent timetable and work daily from 9 till 6 or later. My typical workday involves doing research, presenting new (mini)collections weekly, preparing technical drawings for our manufactures, and reviewing new samples with our product development and merchandising teams.  

After 6pm is when my “second” day starts. Depending on the day I might cook dinner with friends, go to a salsa class or gym, participate in a dance session or a party, go to a gallery opening or a live music show. Honestly, Mondays are my favorite nights to go out, Friday evenings are when I rest and go to bed early.

What fuels your creativity?

Exploring and getting out of my comfort zone — which can mean traveling to another country or simply discovering a new neighbourhood in New York. In the past few years I’ve made it my goal explore more of Central and South America. My recent trips to Colombia and Brazil left me full of inspiration and longing for more vibrant colors and lushness of nature in my life.

What is the hardest to get right while working?

Ah, that’s always going to be finding that balance of creating something unique and new, yet still saleable and wearable. 

Who do you look up to in the world of design?

There are many independent female-founded jewelry brands I look up to — J.Hannah, Sophie Buhai, Spinelli Kilcollin, Marla Aron to name a few.

Photo By Anyelo Troya

How collaborative are you, is it easy for you to work in a team, or are you better off alone?

These days I mostly work alone and consult with our merchandising team to analyze the trends and sales data. In the past, I’ve loved working with younger designers to guide them and help them grow in the world of jewelry design.

Social media, how do you feel about it?

I must say I feel relieved that I don’t have to constantly promote my work on social media, and I can keep it just for fun. I’ve always loved taking photographs and I’m happy to have Instagram to share some of them

Whose opinion is important to you?

Whenever I have doubts about a design, or something silly, like which photo to post on Instagram, I ask my younger sisters — they’ll always give me an honest, unfiltered answer.

Are you good at taking in criticism?

I want to say I am, but the truth is that I still get quite attached to my work from time to time so sometimes I take criticism too personally. However, I always try to turn it into a learning and growth opportunity.

What are your favourite pieces of jewellery You own?

I own a lot, but on a daily basis I wear very little, usually just a few simple rings and hoops. My current favorite is my permanent bracelet — it’s a delicate gold chain that’s welded around my wrist, meaning there’s no clasp and it cannot be removed, unless the chain is cut open.

How do You keep yourself interested in what You do? 

I always try to have a few different creative outlets outside of work not related to jewelry, this keeps my mind fresh whenever I return to work. One of them is dancing, and recently I’ve picked up film photography where I simultaneously started learning developing and printing in the darkroom.. I’ve also tried my hand at textile arts, enameling, weaving, and glasswork. Each medium teaches me something different about myself, and how I can relate it back to my profession as a jewelry designer. I’d say my work brain never switches off, I’m always on the lookout for new jewelry ideas and references.

Photo By Anyelo Troya

Your favourite ways to relax?

If I need to relax, I go on a long walk by myself, preferably somewhere by the water. Luckily I don’t live too far from New York East River, and I often walk there to look at sunsets over the Manhattan skyline.

If you were a part of Star Wars, what would Your character be?

Not so fun fact, I’ve never seen Star Wars!

Your favourite Estonian song?

Whenever I get homesick, I play some Mari Kalkun, my favorite of hers is Keelega-meelega.

What do You miss most about Estonia?

The long white nights in the summer and blueberries in the forest. And my family of course.