Meet Rosa de la Cruz and the Woman Behind the Stunning Jewelry Brand
The first stop on my 48-hour venture to Miami Design Week 2019 was the fabulous de la Cruz Collection art museum. And while I knew I would find stunning works of art at this renowned Miami museum owned by the Cuban-born American businessman Carlos de la Cruz and his wife Rosa. It was their daughter’s stunning jewelry brand, Rosa de la Cruz London, that I left dreaming of! So without further ado, read on for our to learn more about Rosa and her eponymous brand in our exclusive interview.
Rosa de la Cruz London, The Brand
Rosa de la Cruz London is a jewelry collection with an attention to materials and craftsmanship, inspired by personal style and combining inspirations ranging from beautifully designed and crafted vintage jewelry to simple bold designs found in tattoos, graphics, and contemporary art (think elevated stars, hearts, eyes, etc.). Co-founded by Rosa de la Cruz and Tierney Horne the Rosa de la Cruz collection offers easy to wear essentials that bridge evening and day, minimal and luxury, classic and edgy, chic and street.
The collection has appeared on the pages of international publications including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Tatler and W. The collection has been worn by celebrities such as Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Gemma Arterton and Natalia Vodianova.
Lh Exclusive Interview with Rosa de la Cruz
Love Happens: When you decided to study business and then the law, and then to become a tax lawyer, you seemed to have picked something as far as possible from the world of art and design that you grew up in. Was this an intentional choice? What led you back to your creative side?
Rosa de la Cruz: There was never a grand plan per se. I tend to live by instinct and enthusiasm – focusing my efforts and energy one day at a time. I believe in energy and karma and that things come to us when the time is right. Despite my journey and education, Wharton Business School, Columbia Law School, creativity has always been there – at times as a hobby and now more front and center. Fortunately, my business and law background gives me a toolset that is invaluable in running a business.
Lh: I instantly fell in love with the Rosa de la Cruz jewelry collection when I saw it during Design Miami/ at your parents’ gallery! What prompted you to formally launch your jewelry collection? How did you and Tierney meet? What role has she played in the growth of your brand?
Rosa de la Cruz: I initially started designing and commissioning jewelry as a side hobby when I discovered a small and very talented atelier in Milan. These pieces – many of the ebony pieces we still sell today – garnered a lot of attention from Press and numerous purchase requests for which I was ill-prepared. In 2010, I decided to properly launch a business venture and went into partnership with my friend Tierney Horne. Our friendship, brilliant interaction and diverse yet complementary backgrounds and interests really drive our collection and the company.
Lh: Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry you own? Or perhaps a vintage piece you wish you owned?!
Rosa de la Cruz: Both Tierney and I have beautiful vintage pieces. Their craftsmanship and timelessness are always an inspiration and aspiration. My own collection includes jewelry that belonged to my Cuban grandmothers and great grandmothers – many pieces from the 1950s before my family left Cuba – a very special period for me and for design.
Lh: Who are your favorite jewelry designers (past or present)?
Rosa de la Cruz: As far as vintage jewelry goes – Cartier, Van Cleef, Harry Winston (all houses that my grandmother Lolo commissioned pieces from at the time); Verdura, Boiron…vintage Bulgari (when I was a child, my family and I would visit the original store on Rome’s via Condotti); and Codognato with his gem of a boutique in Venice (with each passing Venice Biennial, I have collected his original vintage “memento mori” rings).
Lh: I love what you created in your Knightsbridge home, gorgeous! What role do you believe art plays in interior design? I read that you like to swap out art in your home, like a museum installation. Often people design their interiors around a piece of art, your choice to design a canvas to display art is the opposite approach, how did this guide your decisions when it came to selecting wall colors, textiles, and furnishings?
Rosa de la Cruz: I believe in cross-pollination across the different disciplines of the arts and design. For me, it is all part of a single pot from which to derive inspiration and in turn, express one’s own creativity.
At home, I purposely treated the vast Victorian rooms in our lateral flat as clean open white gallery spaces – where the art and design furniture collection could take the forefront and effortlessly evolve over time with new additions and rehangs.
Lh: Do you have a favorite piece of art in your personal collection? Do you have a favorite artist? Or is it too hard to pick just one?!
Rosa de la Cruz: I wouldn’t say a favorite… but amongst the works at home, one of the earliest works is a very beautiful Beatriz Milhazes canvas. I was very lucky to have collected her work in the 1990s when I was living in New York and frequently traveling to Brazil. Equally, I have a small Peter Doig “Ski Jacket” canvas related to the Tate’s work from when I first moved to London shortly after and the YBA art movement was in full momentum. It’s a contemporary art collection so it follows my own personal trajectory as well as the history and evolution of art since the early 90s when I started collecting.
Lh: Are there any new and upcoming artists that you are loving right now?
Rosa de la Cruz: I have seen art evolve from a period where painting was mostly shunned in favor of video, performance art, and installations…and eventually photography; then gradually we saw a return to painting – first figurative with an emphasis on expressionist German artists and then finally with a focus on abstract process art: that is works on canvas that are not painted in the traditional sense but rather processed – fed through a printer such as in the work of Wade Guyton; Screenprinted; applied with chewing gum, candy or bird shit, etc. This last movement was mostly characterized by the works of American male white artists. In the last few years, the art world has confronted this premise and started focusing on issues of race, gender, and sexuality in a reflection and commentary of our current society with more inclusiveness of women artists and black artists in particular.
Lh: As an avid and experienced collector, do you have any tips for people setting out to buy art?
Rosa de la Cruz: Do your homework. I am a big believer in substance and education. There is a lot to learn – read art essays, reviews and auction catalogs; visit galleries, museums, and art fairs, etc. There is definitely a big learning curve to collecting, and simply buying in ignorance “what you love” is not really to be recommended.
Lh: Some people are innate collectors and others are not, what do you feel collecting brings to your world?
Rosa de la Cruz: In my eyes, just because you buy art does not make you an art collector. A lot of financial speculation and trendy eager-yet-sadly-uninformed art acquisitions – especially in the wake of the market’s massive growth in recent years – have tainted contemporary art collecting.
Ultimately, all objects including artworks, furniture, clothing exist in a dimension as individual items. A true Collection introduces a focused and concerted personal edit, curatorship, and viewpoint which when successful – with exceptional rigor, taste, and style – is the making of the world’s great collections. Museums and private collections such as my family’s de la Cruz Collection in Miami further provide a great service allowing the general public to share in their collection as well as promoting much-needed education.
More to Love: 5 Tips for Organizing and Storing Jewelry
Lh: I read you have an extensive shoe collection to go along with your art, do you collect vintage jewelry also? Are there any other things you love collecting?
Rosa de la Cruz: Actually neither my shoes nor my clothes collection is extensive due to my rigorous monthly “Spring” cleaning. As a rule, with each new item of clothing or shoes, something must go. Out before in…
I have a rather misleading reputation as a minimalist. But really I am an extremely organized and ruthless editor of the million collections you never knew you could collect.
Lh: What’s next for Rosa de la Cruz? New jewelry collections? Other ventures?
Rosa de la Cruz: Definitely new collections and ventures and more! I am on my way to LA today to celebrate the launch of the Webster’s store designed by David Adjaye. We are showing there a collection exclusively made for the Webster – lots of pinks!
My secret to timelessness is to keep evolving and yet stay the same. (“Things have to change in order to remain the same”, The Leopard, G Lampedusa).
This is such an auspicious time for us at Rosa de la Cruz London. The fine jewelry sector has always been an island apart from the larger fashion world. Our collection was formally formed ten years ago on the non-spoken common-sense long-standing premise of no waste / that one should ultimately buy less and only buy timeless objects – objects which have inherent value – items you will love forever by virtue of collecting and constantly rekindling your love and enthusiasm for those items. We make fine jewelry you and your daughter and granddaughter… will share.
Equally, we have never done “seasons” nor put items on sale, nor destroyed or disposed of our product. Twenty years later, we still sell the same pieces.
Like my career, this was not planned per se. But somehow karma led me to an industry that could uphold the principles I always inertly knew to be true. Beauty. No waste. Timelessness.
A Peek Inside the Fabulous and Inspiring Mind of Rosa de la Cruz with the Lh Design Questionnaire
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sitting with my beloved on our terrace at home in London on a sunny day.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Dinner service – napkins, linens, silver, plates… Last time I counted I had 16 different sets of plates in London with one set for 60 people!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My four boys and our family values.
What profession does your alter ego have?
She’s a tax lawyer of course!
Your favorite decade.
Your muse or icon.
The most timeless design.
Everything from the 1950s
The biggest business faux pas.
Smythson hand-engraved business cards with a very chic yet illegible microscopic type.
Perseverance and excellence – best efforts, highest standards applied to everything we do.
Love happens when….
you experience gratitude.
Interview by Anna Beck Bimba
All Images Courtesy of Rosa de la Cruz