There’s a reason why Lizz Jardim’s edgy jewelry line, L. Jardim, brings to mind the mechanical, as opposed to merely the ornamental. The jewelry designer, who you can find on any given day draped in the delicate yet industrial pieces she handcrafts herself, says that her interest in jewelry and metalworking was born out of hanging around her family’s auto body shop.
“I was around a lot of cars when I was a kid,” the Bushwick-based designer tells COOLS. “I always loved the sounds and smells going on [there], all the scraps and parts that were lying around when they were working on cars.”
This unlikely source of inspiration can be seen in Jardim’s bold designs, which range from a pair of surprisingly dainty chain link hoop earrings to barbed wire-inspired necklaces to a body chain so glam, Natalie Portman’s dramatic pop diva sported one in 2018’s Vox Lux. Equally inspirational is Jardim’s own dynamic personal style, an eclectic mix of playful vintage, tomboy-ish streetwear and bright colors, which she considers an important mode for how she communicates with the world.
“Self-expression is everything! It can be really challenging to express oneself, and we each have our modes of communication we feel most comfortable with,” she says. “It’s important to have that because it’s something that connects us to one another.”
Jardim’s desire to express herself sparked her foray into the jewelry world. While in college, she began creating pieces she felt suited her tastes best, but couldn’t find.
“I wanted to express my style in ways I didn’t really have access to, so I started making pieces for myself,” she says. As often happens, one thing led to another, and after Jardim began getting encouraging responses to her work, she began making her jewelry en masse, something she notes with good-natured pragmatism: “I fell into it, I guess.”
Jardim credits some of her success to her environment, pointing to New York City as a source of not only inspiration for her design, but as fuel for her motivation and hustle as a creative, even if it’s been overwhelming at times.
“New York is electric; it’s nearly impossible to ignore its currents, try as you may,” she says wryly. “Sometimes that energy can instill a blind sense of urgency in me as a creative—this default to go, go, go, because everything around me is doing so. I’m finding the place where I don’t feel passenger to the momentum and move through it in a way that best serves my work and life.”
Jardim’s industrial chic design is extending past jewelry now, with the creation of a gold JUUL case that features her signature chain link details. While Jardim doesn’t smoke often (she actually bought her first JUUL just to make the case), she was fascinated with the interaction between daily utility and visual value.
“A big part of my process involves exploring logical extensions of an aesthetic.”
While Jardim’s craft is even more impressive when you consider that she makes all her wares by hand, she’s quick to assure you that the challenges don’t always lie within production.
“The work itself is very rewarding, I enjoy creating with my hands especially—but there’s plenty more to it than that,” she explains. “For me, the challenges include a lot of the surrounding elements, like balancing my efforts in making the work with those applied to marketing it or sharing it. I’m learning a lot about myself and my craft in navigating these challenges, which is big plus.”
As for what’s next for this self-starter, Jardim is excited to continue to grow her brand and keep up the momentum that she’s already acquired in spades, while making sure she gets enough downtime and self-care to keep up her creative energy.
“My plans have plans,” she says with a laugh. “Keeping things moving. Creating more, sharing more, and taking down some boundaries I’ve been minding in my approach.”