Caroline Quinio, founder of Plaitly, shares how a personalized necklace can be made to reduce waste and advocate for clean energy.
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The best gifts are always those that feel personal. Think of a bouquet of your favorite flowers instead of the standard red rose or the time someone surprised you with a trip to see your favorite musician or remembered your favorite author. When someone gives a personalized gift to you, it makes you feel special. When Caroline Quinio debuted her first collection of Plaitly, a jewelry brand featuring sculptural pieces, she wanted to capture that exceptional feeling. Each collection fuses the intricate beauty of nature with modern technology to craft designs that feel fresh and unique. For those desiring a gift unlike any other, Plaitly’s Heliodon collection features bespoke pendants digitally designed to represent the sun at a specific time and place. It’s a one-of-a-kind memento for a special time and place.
When I slipped on the Heliodon personalized necklace, I instantly fell in love. It’s sleek craftsmanship makes it a piece that I can wear regularly. But, its design is also unique enough to spark conversations. I’m particularly excited to add this to my list of must-gives as I think it’d make a beautiful personalized gift for a friend who’s becoming a new mom or my grandmother.
In case you’re wondering, here at The Wellness Feed, we’re not solely focused on pretty pieces. We look for beautiful items that transcend the take-make-waste model to focus on a more respectful way of designing that takes into consideration how an item can have a positive impact on the environment and the artisans who craft the materials. That is true beauty. When I learned about Plaitly’s mission to not only advocate for clean energy, but also reuse precious metals, I was intrigued to learn more. Caroline further shared how her digital design process minimizes waste and how she works with local New York-based artisans versus seeking out mass production overseas.
Whether you’re looking for a personalized necklace yourself, a new statement piece to gift a loved one, or simply want to learn more about the steps designers for a more ethical jewelry industry, Caroline’s insight is worth reading.
What’s the design process for the Heliodon necklace?
My design process begins digitally and ends with hand-finishing techniques so the result blends digital and physical ways of making jewelry. When a customer sends me their location, date and time, I input that data into a proprietary digital tool with parameters that define the angle for their jewelry and translate it into their unique version of the pendant as a 3D model. That model is then 3D printed in wax and cast in metal by hand through the lost wax casting process. Finally, the cast metal is hand-polished to a mirror finish and micron plated in precious metal. Each necklace comes with a personalized sun angle chart in the packaging so customers can see the exact graph of the sun angle captured in their pendant. No two pendants are exactly alike due to the range of possible sun angles at any given location, date and time!
How do you ensure that each Plaitly piece is as ethical & sustainable as possible?
In defining the parameters for the jewelry customization, I designed the Heliodon pendant to reduce the amount of material in the final cast piece so that the metal was the minimum needed to achieve the desired shape. This way, I could reduce the impact of material used over time as I made new pieces.
I also work with a local casting company here in New York City who prioritizes using recycled metals, which aligns with one of my brand’s values to create beautiful jewelry with minimal impact on the environment. I prefer working with local production partners to reduce potential energy from transporting pieces overseas. For my jewelry that is not made to order, like the pieces in the Drapery collection, I have them made in small batches to reduce the potential for overproduction so I’m not creating more pieces than necessary.
What sparked your partnership with the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF)?
I wanted to include opportunities to give back to communities in need as part of the business model for the pieces in the Heliodon collection. Since Heliodon is a celebration of the sun’s impact on our lives, I thought the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) would be a great charity to support that aligns with the concept behind the jewelry. I like that SELF embraces the tactical application of solar energy to empower communities and fight poverty around the world. Their work is amazing and so meaningful. I just wanted to help support them and their mission.
What’s next for PLAITLY?
I’m working on new pieces to expand my Drapery jewelry collection, which I plan to release this year. I’m also working on new features to my website to allow customers to preview their Heliodon pendants online before they order.