Tucked among boutiques in Crestline Village (a quaint, shop-filled neighborhood in Birmingham) are the exposed-brick walls and oversize windows of designer Laura Gaines’ one-room studio. There, Laura hand-produces each piece in her fashion-forward jewelry line, Shalla Wista. The collection of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings features a wide range of materials and bold pops of color that keep the creations feeling fresh, not stark. Proving its star power, Laura’s one-woman line has caught the attention of notable Southern celebrities such as Faith Hill, Sara Evans, and Selena Gomez. Some of our favorite pieces include a turquoise snakeskin wrap cuff, a long crystal necklace, and a pair of sparkly chandelier earrings perfect for a night on the town. Prices range from $30 to $400.
The Inspiration: “I follow trends of clothing designers such as Ralph Lauren, but I also draw from my travels—the people, the places, and the cultures that make the places I have visited unique.”
The Name: “As a child, before I could really talk, I would mutter the sounds ‘sha-la-wis-ta’ constantly. The odd habit scored me a nickname. Later, I embraced it as the name of my jewelry line.”
The Materials: “I often work with leather, gold, semiprecious stones, and Swarovski crystals. Other materials even include dyed fish skins and gold-covered shark teeth.
The Process: “I sit down with the different elements I’ve collected and play with ways to combine them in order to make my vision come to life.”