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NOT-A-GEM

By Patricia Pitner on May 29, 2017

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In the series of finding amazing stuff on Instagram’s Discover page, Thanks to Romanian Design Week I found NOT-A-GEM, a contemporary jewelry page that makes concrete gems. For me, it hit the right spot because I love minimalist jewelry and I like the idea of a concrete diamond. I was curious to find more about them so I asked them a few questions.

Hello Cristi! Let’s begin with what made you decide to start this brand. What inspired you to get to where you are now?

Hello! The idea of starting a manufacturing brand came to my head long time ago but it only became real after visiting Berlin last year in October. By then I was already working with concrete for more than an year and coming back changed my view on Bucharest. I knew I loved our capital but until then it never felt so inspirational.

I got deep into reading everything Bucharest then one day I came across this article about Rami Dacia – the synthetic diamond factory recognized as one of the greatest business of the Romanian state of all time. I instantly started dreaming of a factory that produces diamonds made of concrete and once I realized the potential of this idea #NOTAGEM was born.

Please explain a little bit about the brand’s concept.

#NOTAGEM = minimalist concrete gems handcrafted by me & Călin in our studio @ Unversitate, in the heart of the city. We use local sourced concrete powder, filtered water and natural pigments such as mineral powders, coffee syrup and beetroot juice.

Our brand addresses everyone who’s craving for a raw, wearable & affordable piece that easily fits into their lifestyle. Wearing #NOTAGEM should be reminding everyone that the real gem is their selves.

Why only natural materials? (You wrote on your website that you use natural pigments to color them)

We care about the environment being already too polluted & since concrete is an eco-friendly material it was clear that we should be using only natural pigments. Many hours were spent researching, and more than one month experimenting with different coloring substances until finding the best solution.

Our products are also vegan-friendly – we use inoxidable metal links and faux-leather cords. Also the paper we use for the packaging is 100% recycled.

What is the process of making these gems?

The recipe is simple yet meticulous. We mix the concrete powder with water and pigments, we pour the paste into molds and wait one day to properly dry. Each gem is grinded by hand underwater then left for one more day to dry.

Until recently we were coating our gems with cold pressed flax-seed oil, which is one of the best concrete preservatives, and now we’ve added an extra layer of beeswax for more protection.

You are a new brand.. what was your feedback until now?

We put a big emphasis on our customer’s journey and we’re constantly asking about their experience with the brand. Until how we have received lots of valuable feedback. For instance we introduced 2 new cord colors because everybody was asking for them. We try to take into consideration every suggestion as long as it matches our brand’s vision &  aesthetics.

Do you have any more designs planned for the future?

We have just launched our second design: the concrete cube. It took about four months to do all the researching, design the mold and test out the shape within our friends circle. It was first available in the Romanian Design Week’s gift shop where we were featured with a special red, yellow and blue cords collection.

Also there are some collaborations on the way with local and international designers and brands. Everything will be disclosed when it’s finished.

Where can people find your creations and stay in touch with more news about the brand?

We post all our updates on Facebook  & Instagram. All our gems are available to buy in our web-shop (www.not-a-gem.com) in different colors.

 

Thank you! Good luck & can’t wait for the new pieces!

 

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