Simona Counts

Northern Lights
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Monterey, California

Describe your artistic style.
Nothing in my designs is sketched. Oftentimes I will just let the stones tell me what they want to become, and that never fails. My creations are trending towards bold and asymmetrical, with lots of texture, and in colors that are often drawn from nature.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Inspiration comes from everything that surrounds me: flowers, rainbows, rain, people ...

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
The materials I use--semiprecious stones, natural and glass pearls, shell, crystals, Venetian glass--are all carefully and lovingly selected by me at gem shows and in my travels. But my all-time favorites are rough stones. I guess they remind me a bit of myself.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Northern Lights

What inspired this design?
Seeing the Aurora Borealis.

How did it come together?
I saw the agate stones at a gem show and the idea was born. Once I started working on the necklace, the design just flowed.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
It all started in 2005, with a visit to my in-laws in Tucson, Arizona. It so happened that the annual gem show was in progress there.

Who introduced you to beading?
A friend of my mother in-law's who was making her own jewelry. After she showed me her jewelry "closet," all I remember is her telling me: "It's not that hard once you get the hang of it." My passion was born then and there ...

Do you have an artistic background?
No. After obtaining my Master's in Law in 1999, I worked hard to build a career as an attorney, so there was not much time left to enjoy anything else. At the beginning of 2012 I made the difficult decision of abandoning the legal profession in an attempt to focus more on the creative aspect in my life.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
I was researching online avenues to buy materials in between gem shows, and their website is one of my main sources ever since.

What other hobbies do you have?
Cooking, traveling, classical music, hiking, and the sound of rain on the roof when the fire is roaring in the fireplace.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
There are times when I cannot wait to get home to turn my desk lamp on and pull out my tools to create something. It is not easy dealing with court proceedings on a daily basis, and with people that go through difficult times in their lives. So, after trying to help as much as possible and bring some comfort to clients, making jewelry after hours brings me comfort.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
In 2009 I became one of the designers for The Nest in Pacific Grove, California. In addition to displaying my creations in the showroom, I create the jewelry for their annual fashion shows. In 2010 I created my own website. I also have a seller account with eBay. And of course, countless trunk shows.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
A lot of them. All my friends and clients ask me if I want to participate by donating pieces for various causes and I never say no.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Never give up. And always think highly of your work. That will reflect in how people perceive you and your creations.