May 8th, 2019 / posted by paularath

Bliss Lau, fine jewelry designer

I recently caught up with Bliss Lau while she was on a bus, infant daughter Soa in her arms, traveling between her studio and her home. It’s a whirling dervish sort of life, the life of a working mother.

While Bliss is a thoroughly NYC girl now, she was born and raised in Honolulu and graduated from Punahou.

“It’s a totally new challenge,” Bliss said. Her mom schedule involves working two full days and two half days, while also taking meetings on weekends. “As a business owner, I had to hire two people: one for my business and one for my baby. I’m really lucky that I saved for so many years to have a child.”

It’s not surprising that Bliss has made it all work. Not only is she talented and oh so chic, she is also smart and savvy.

I have followed Bliss since she was a student at Parsons School of Design. Every step of the way, from her early career as a handbag designer through her innovations as a body jewelry artist, and now a creator of exquisite fine designer jewelry, she has taken a practical, businesslike approach to her design career. Trust me, she is a rarity in the sometimes (or should I say usually) crazed world of fashion and design.

Understated elegance from Bliss Lau

Like every aspect of her life, Bliss takes many things into consideration when creating a new design. Practicality is important to her, so many pieces can be moved around and worn several different ways. For wedding rings, she often creates double bands that can attach or detach easily.

While many of her pieces are simple and sleek, others suit the women in her life who “Are the Queens of Bling and want sparkle, sparkle, sparkle,” she said.

Bliss works with a wide assortment of precious gemstones. She also does creative nail design.

As her fine jewelry business continues to evolve, Bliss has identified a new initiative, ethical sourcing. “Within six months I will form a standard of practices” for ethical sourcing at Bliss Lau Designs. “There are a lot of components to why I am taking my business on a more responsible path. I feel compelled to be thinking about how every decision I make in my business can impact people.” For example, she uses recycled gold instead of mined gold. She recently searched the world for ethical black jade, which she finally sourced from Australia. She understands that women in small communities throughout the world work in abject poverty to make her materials available, “And I can help them. My eyes are open to a lot of things now. I think of what life is like for these people and it has made me a lot more compassionate.”

It became clear to me that motherhood, and her precious Soa, has deeply influenced her views on life and hopes for the future.

Bliss models three of her rings.

As a sideline, Bliss began creating nail art about eight years ago. She designs sophisticated black-and-white motifs for Etsuko Shimatani’s Japanese nail salon in NYC. “Nail art became a part of my self expression,” Bliss explained. “It’s a little bit of luxury. It was one of the first things that I did for self-care and it made me happy during the transition to being a woman.”

Bliss is also making conscious choices regarding where her jewelry will be sold. In Honolulu, it had to be Riches Kahala. “Aunty Lo (Kaimuloa, owner of Riches Kahala) is magic and she’s so powerful. When I was thinking about who I would like to work with in Honolulu, she’s the first person I thought of. She has had a healthy business for over 30 years and she’s still there. I have so much respect for her and her team.”

Custom orders can be placed for Bliss Lau pieces at Riches Kahala. They have gemstones from which to choose, as well as rings to try on and metals to help you decide which will look best with your skin tone. Phone 737-3303. Appointments are recommended.

Paula Rath

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