DURING a late-night drizzle in August last year, a young woman named Chynna Gonzalez stubbed out her cigarette to show me her earring. It was a turquoise stud with a halo of clear stones, and a dangler below it. She took it apart, and demonstrated how the earring could be broken apart of wear as a stud earring — with or without a halo — or the stud and the dangler without the halo. When asked where she bought it, she said, she made it herself. My ears immediately perked up at the thought of discovering a new jewelry designer. She told me to wait and see where the earrings would take her.
The earrings would apparently take her to Manila House for a launch of her line, Adornata, on Sept. 21. The concept of her transforming earrings is still there, and she demonstrated with a teardrop-shaped amazonite how to take the earrings apart and wear them in several configurations. She did the same with a bejewelled pendant in semiprecious stones, demonstrating how it could be used as a brooch.
While already a dabbler in fashion, Ms. Gonzalez found her calling while in the search for a certain piece. About two years ago, Ms. Gonzalez was looking for a piece that she would use to mark a milestone. Asked what piece she eventually decided on buying, she said, “That was the problem” — she couldn’t find a piece that suited her and her personality, because she found that the pieces available in the market for a young woman were far too ostentatious.
“I wanted something that fit my lifestye more.”
She ended up making it herself — an opal ring with a halo of blue topazes. While it was too beautiful for her to sell to someone else, in the process of creating it, she decided to make more of the designs that started to twinkle in her mind.
Ms. Gonzalez was very hands-on with her collection. She developed the clasps and the mechanisms for the pieces herself, such as a concealed hook that would be revealed by drawing it out with the earring itself.

Adornata 2
The Rosie, which is made with pink opal, rhodolite, star sapphire, garnet, red agate, London blue topaz, carnelian, and pearl, can be worn three ways.

“I’m very fortunate that my manufacturing leg is very good,” she said, noting the skills of her metalsmiths. While supervising closely, she also made pieces first by herself to know if what she wanted was possible.
The results of these processes are one-offs: there are only one each of Ms. Gonzalez’s designs. “I personally don’t like it when I spend so much on something and [then] I’ll see someone else wearing [the same thing],” she said.
Her pieces can range from P25,000 to P90,000, but entire sets are available for P100,000.
For this collection, was inspired by the Festa del Redentore, a feast held in Venice for the Holy Redeemer to give thanks for saving the city from the Plague in the 1500s. The celebrations are marked by an hour-long fireworks display. Translating this into Adornata’s collection, a motif in Ms. Gonzalez’s designs are starbursts executed in varicolored stones. They have an effect of seeming as if the explosions in the sky were captured and frozen forever, to be worn as a good memory.
“I feel like jewelry is very personal. It’s one of the purchases that make you feel like you’ve made it,” she told BusinessWorld.
Adornata is available through www.adornata.jewelry. — Joseph L. Garcia