We had a fabulous time interviewing Allison Hourcade Cimino, the designer behind RockLove Jewelry. Join us as we find out about her background, what inspired her, and about her new Outlander-inspired collection.
The Outlander Podcast (Pod): Tell us about yourself! Describe your work as a jewelry designer and the road that led you there.
Allison Hourcade Cimino (Allison): I grew up frequenting juried art shows and maker markets with my mother. Both a doctor and a musician, my mom has eclectic taste and has spent a lifetime collecting one-of-a-kind pieces. My childhood home is filled with art glass, funky glazed pottery, whimsical bronze sculptures in the yard… she extolled the virtues of handcrafted goods while never apologizing for how “weird” our decor was compared to my friends’ houses. At every event, she told creators I was her “consultant” and then ask me my opinions; a task I took very seriously. In hindsight, this experience clearly shaped my creativity – in the third grade while studying Medieval Villages, I chose to be the “silversmith” and made a whole collection of jewelry to sell in my fake store. Each holiday season I would make one specific gift for everyone (like aromatherapy lip balm or a bracelet set), while elaborately branding the packaging. But it wasn’t until halfway through my college years, when I swapped my studio art focus to an apprenticeship in Florence, Italy, that I finally embraced jewelry as my career.
Pod: Tell Outlander fans about your design style. What makes your collections unique in the industry?
Allison: My design style is selfish—I like to create for myself and my family/friends, items that we want to wear. But in doing so, I’m also ensuring a sincere product, since crafting a piece for a loved one requires care and sentiment. RockLove’s style could be described physically as very sculptural, organic, three dimensional… while also including an emotional aspect. I like pieces to do things relevant to the fandom (like spin, flip, open) or include a quote or hidden message that means something to the wearer. I think it’s this combination that makes it successful in the industry and special to fans.
Pod: Describe the type of person who wears your jewelry.
Allison: You? Me. My mom. My husband. There’s no specific age or type of person who wears RockLove, since the licenses I enjoy are diverse and the fandoms do not always overlap. But usually a RockLove fan is a romantic at heart—someone who finds so much joy in a character or story that they want to wear a talisman representative of that love.
Pod: Where do you draw your inspiration from as a designer?
Allison: There is something remarkable about each property—a life lesson, a strong character, a powerful quote. Whatever it is about that book, movie, or fandom that we find inspiring, that’s the seed that develops into a jewelry idea. I usually design from a thought rather than a silhouette… so rather than “lets make a necklace” it is “the first line of ‘Outlander’s intro is magical.”
Pod: Describe your latest Outlander-inspired collection and how it is different from your first.
Allison: The new Thistle Collection is actually based upon sketches I made while designing the first Outlander jewelry collection! In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if the pieces would do well, and because RockLove is a small business, creating every new piece is a big financial commitment. The original five pieces were celebrating Craigh na Dun and Luckenbooths while these sterling and Amethyst thistles represent Claire and Jamie’s relationship. A Scottish Thistle is resilient and determined – it represents strength, unity, and devotion. When I wear it, it reminds me to be a persistent and unyielding in my passions.
Pod: What’s your favorite piece?
Allison: The Thistle Ring is likely my favorite, since it is so simple but so beautiful, with the pop of faceted purple amethyst. I also proud of the design choice to make it adjustable, since it offers the wearer versatility. It can fit anyone with knobby knuckles, swelling, or fingers that change with cold and hot weather… and it can be a gift even if you don’t know the recipient’s size. As someone who works with my hands all day, that little comfort feels well thought out.
Pod: What’s it like to see someone wearing your jewelry?
Allison: I feel like a rockstar! It’s amazing! In this big wide world, it still feels crazy that I may walk up on someone in person who happens to be be wearing my jewelry. Even social media, when I haven’t actually met the wearer in person, it’s incredible to think something I created is so special to a stranger!
Pod: Do you have any ideas for your next Outlander-inspired collection?
Allison: I do! And I’m excited to make more Outlander jewels! It feels cathartic to make these Thistles, which have been teasing me every time I flip through that particular sketch book. I don’t know why I waited so long, but now that they are a reality, the Outlander shaped space in my brain is filling with new ideas!
Thank you so much, Allison, for sharing so much about your work and your inspiration!
To find out more about RockLove and view official Outlander merchandise, visit http://www.rocklove.com/