We had the good fortune of connecting with Iva Osei-Kuffour and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Iva, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking is something that I have never fully been comfortable with, however I find myself doing it often. Becoming a full time artist/ jewelry designer is such a bold and wild risk! I honestly don’t know who I think I am! But I had to at least try. It truly makes me happy to create beautiful things! Then have beautiful people buy and proudly rock their unique pieces brings me such joy. With risk comes rewards and so far it has been very rewarding and I’m so grateful to God!!!

My next risk will be showcasing my other artistic aspersions through my paining. Mostly acrylic and watercolor. I’m nervous about it but I know it’s going to be fun and bring joy to others lives!

I deal with the stress of it all by constant prayer, meditation and skating as much as I can. Roller skating has truly been a such a blessing and I’m so happy I found my new favorite hobby.  hate it took a car accident then a Pandemic to lead me this skater girl life, grateful nonetheless. ]And it was definitely risky for me to learn this, the falls hurt! Getting back up and landing a new trick, worth it!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In making wearable art I really make sure each piece is unique. I make them all with love and try to give each piece a captivating shape. Letting the stone shape guide me.

The products I produce are pendant necklaces (ranging from mini stones to extra large stones), 4 different ring designs, nose/ear cuffs, earrings, stone bead bracelets, customized waist-beads and one of my favorite designs is the Jeehan Choker. My gems can be worn by women, men and children.

Each stone is high quality and hand picked. The wire I use is a  non-tarnishing craft wire. The chains used is 18k gold and sterling silver coated.  I also have rope and leather chain options.

I then dip each piece in another layer of tarnish resistant serum to further protect the piece. Finally I sage and pray over pieces my pieces before shipping them out to my customers.

When I do customized pieces I think of the costumer specifically. I try to get an idea of their style and personality.  I get most excited to work on these and find myself doing a happy dance once complete.

As mentioned I also paint so when I started stone wrapping I often visualize myself painting. When paining I often use bold lines as well as visible brush strokes to add more texture.

I do this when mixing different gauges of wire to give it the same effect. I have also started to use different colors when wrapping. For example, mixing soft gold and old gold gives it a more elegant feel. Or silver with a gun metal shade can give a vintage vibe.

With my spring line I got to work with some new stones and I also released some brand new products. A few of the new stones used include: Lemmon Jade (stability), rough Citrine (stone of wealth), Prehnite (heal the healer), Labradorite (strength and perseverance), and Crazy Lace Agate (balancing and protecting stone).

New products to the line include: hair gems, gold and silver clips as well as loc jewelry. I’ve also designed these beautiful wrist cuffs that will set any look off. I also have a new earring  design, titled the “floating earring” because it appears to be floating on the ear.

This summer I will be dropping the “Bianca Anklet” that I designed with my dear friend Bianca in mind. She’s a anklet girl and since launching in October she has been such a big support. It was fun talking anklet ideas with her.

This has lead me to also want to design a Skate/Boot Anklet. Also hoping to release this design this summer.

Lastly, I’ve been dying to make a belly chain to go along with my beautiful waist-beads. I’ve been working hard to get the design exactly the way I want it. It has finally come together. This too will be a summer time must have!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Because we are living in these strange times id probably stick to outdoor activities. Houston has so many beautiful parks! One of my favs is Levy park. It’s family and dog friendly.

As far as adult fun, I’d suggest places like Present Company. They have cute cocktails and a nice outside deck. I also recently went to Karbach Brewing Co.
They have a cool outside eating area and the food is really good!

Lastly I’d suggest check out many of the Houston art events. Now that things aren’t opening back up there’s so many artist ready to show what they’ve been working on. I get Eventbrite emails or simply Google what events are happening in my area. They are usually free or low entry fees.

Y’all stay safe! Mask up, sanitize and still keep your distance. By the time this comes out I will be fully vaccinated and I’m really happy about it. Let’s help keep each other safe!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

Yes definitely have to give the good Lord a shout out. Over the last year I have been more focused on my faith and connection to God. Asking him specifically for him to reveal my purpose to me. And then give me the strength to handle all that comes with it. He has blessed me abundantly!

Definitely have to shout my mother Gaynelle Osei-Kuffour out! She has been cheering me on my entire life. Always encouraging my creative interest and helping me learn new ones. She herself is an artist with her seamstress abilities. She made my prom dress, countless costumes, and as of lately she’s been making beautiful cotton mask. Her creativity inspires me so much and I’m so grateful to have such a talented and loving mother.

I am who I am because of her.

I also want to shout out my two book clubs. My best friend and our moms are reading A Year With God, Living out the Spiritual Disciplines. This is a continuation of a book by Richard J. Foster Celebration of Discipline, The Path to Spiritual Growth. ]We read this one last year and both have been life changing for me. Foster really helps you see spirituality and your relationship with God in the new way. It feels tangible to me now. I have more trust in God and his vision for me.

This bookclub has also been such fun because it’s with my best friend Sarita, her mother and my mother. It’s allowed us to build upon our relationships through Christ.

The second bookclub I’m in is with my girls. We are reading Cling, Choosing a Lifestyle of Intimacy with God by Kim Cash Tate. This book is about just as it’s title states. And being able to read and discuss this book with a group of black woman in their early 30s, all living busy and ever changing lives has been such an amazing experience. It’s become a sisterhood in Christ and I’m so proud of us! Because it’s hard juggling it all! We have a few moms in the group, business owners, educators and many in leadership roles. But we have the group to help us be accountable, to support each other as we focus on clinging to God.

My family and friends that have been hyping me up throughout this entire process. My father and brothers always letting me know they see my hustle. And love the designs I’ve been coming up with.

My wonderful aunt Val in North Carolina has been my number one fan. She is always gemmed down and telling all her friends about my brand. There’s been so many days I was feeling low, then boom a encouraging text from her. Unknowingly she’s gathering me in these moments.

All of my friends have been so amazing! I’m truly blessed to have a group of people that love on me as they do.

They show up at all events, usually stay the entire time, help me with customers, bag up items and whatever else I need.  My friends also deal with me being annoying and taking pictures of them all the time lol. They’ve all been models for and are so patient with me as I try to get the angles I’m looking for. ]This goes for my guy friends too. Most men aren’t usually fans of taking a bunch of pics. But my guys love me so that they deal and pose and let me do my thing.

I also love that I can bounce ideas off of them. Design pieces with them even. I plan on always keeping my friends in the loop as I grow. They lift me up and inspire me so much!

Lastly I’d like to shout out Nnenna Ochuru and Jonay Hulin, owners of Exchange to Change a wonderful thrift/consignment shop located 3801 N MacGregor Way, Houston, TX 77004. On 4/9/21 I moved in and hosted my spring line launch event here. I am so excited to work with these creative women! They are about fashion, art and service. The store is unique and they even have a community pantry in partnership with Houston Tx Community Fridges.

These are all things that mean so much to me and I feel God has aligned us to work together. It’s only the beginning but I see us doing great things together as we focus on group economics, black entrepreneurship and creativity.

Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/oseigems

Instagram: https://instagram.com/oseigems?igshid=7pn9kpodfjbi

Twitter: https://twitter.com/oseigems?s=21

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oseigems/

Other: Vendor location: Exchange To Change Located: 3801 N MacGregor Way, Houston, TX 77004. Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar 12575 Southwest Fwy, Stafford, TX 77477

Image Credits
Photographers:Brittany Godwin, Iva Osei-Kuffour, Jeehan Zarroug Models: Brittany Godwin, Iva Osei-Kuffour, Jeehan Zarroug, Mishelle Varela, and Sarita Stephney

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