Designer Inés Susaeta is deeply connected to the sea. Born and raised near Bilbao, Spain, Inés grew up watching her father surf in the Cantabrian Sea before taking to the water herself. That background infuses her jewelry, which is deeply inspired by nature. Coral, leaves, branches and other sea life appear in her gold, silver and bronze jewelry. But her interest in nature isn’t simply aesthetic: Inés is a member of 1% For The Planet and has pledged to give one percent of the sales from her line to a network of environmental organizations. Learn more about what inspires Inés and how she creates her elegant, nature-inspired jewelry.
- Hello Inés – can you please tell us a little more about yourself?
I grew up in Sopelana, a seaside town close to Bilbao, where I enjoyed staring at the amazing cliffs that merge into the sea. There is where my story begins: I come from a family of surfers. My parents have always been connected to the sea and ecology and they have great interest in art, which they have always transmitted to me. My mother is a painter and artist, and since I was a kid, I enjoyed sitting by her side while she painted AND recycled objects from the beach to make sculptures or lamps.
I’ve had this link with nature since I was a child, and it makes me have a special consideration to its textures, colors and shapes, considering it art.
Some years ago, I discovered jewelry thanks to a Colombian teacher who taught me everything she knew. That is how is combined my inspiration with the most traditional techniques of jewelry, forming the brand Inés Susaeta.
- When did you know you wanted to become a jewelry designer?
I have always had interest in creating, customizing, painting... and suddenly I discovered jewelry.
The fact of shaping ideas with my own hands, using the same thousand-year-old techniques as the old craftspeople, is priceless for me. Beyond the aesthetics, every single jewel has a feeling and a story behind it, which makes it unique.
- How would you describe your designs?
Organic, very personal and easy to wear.
- What types of materials do you use and why do you work with them?
I use different metals such as gold, silver or bronze. Gold is very good looking and easy to shape, however, silver is the metal I use most in my designs, especially in the unique pieces.
- When you were setting up your brand, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
The first and most essential objective was the creation of a team, a brand image with a strong personality, nice pictures... and from then on we had no idea what was going to happen.
My brother Nikola has given me a lot to appreciate, because although the beginning was hard, we’ve kept the same formula since the first day: work, hope and will.
- Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I get inspiration from nature, especially from the sea; I have always had a close relationship with the ocean due to having grown up in constant contact with it.
- Can you please tell us about the design process of your jewelry?
Nature is an endless source of aesthetic resources. When somebody has the sensibility to grasp them, you only have to pay attention and look, there is where my work begins: I shape the ideas in my workshop while creating the first piece, the prototype.
- Who is the Ines Susaeta customer?
People who are looking for quality and design, pieces with strong personality. My designs are for people who search for exclusivity and value our brand philosophy.
- How would you describe your brand in 5 words?
Innovative, fresh, different, exclusive, atemporal.
- How do you describe your personal style?
I like mixing styles and being innovative.
- Do your designs reflect your personal style?
Every jewel I produce has a bit of me in it.
- You are based in Bilbao – where do you like to spend your free time?
Bilbao is a small city in a constant evolution, you can find different atmospheres in a small area, changing from tradition to modernity in minutes.
The old part of Bilbao, situated by the river, is an essential place to visit. Its seven famous streets have a special atmosphere because of its gastronomy, local shops, local market… As a surfer, I enjoy the sight of the city when surfing in the river with a Paddle Board.
Art is very present in the city: there are many art galleries and important museums such as the Guggenheim Museum or the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, where world famous expositions can be seen.
In Bilbao, as in the rest of the Basque Country, gastronomy is an essential factor; there are innumerable high level restaurants such as Zortziko or Nerua, situated inside the Guggenheim Museum, but at the same time you can enjoy a quality menu at a reasonable price in any bar in the old part of the town or in Abaroa, after visiting Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.
There are also fashion stores in Bilbao, I specially recommend For, which is formed by a group of shops that for years have been analyzing the style of people in Bilbao and adapting to new trends.
To conclude, it is absolutely necessary to mention San Mamés (football’s Cathedral) and the Athletic Club of Bilbao, a different football club with a unique ideology in the world.
- What are the three things you cannot live without?
I could not live without the people I love and care about, the sea and music.