Dream Choice

Los Angeles-based designer Dream Choice mixes exquisite statement jewellery with a social conscience

“The pieces of jewellery I design are not just trinkets for wearing, they are personal statements,” says jewellery designer Swapna Pinnameneni, founder and CEO of California-based Dream Choice Jewelry. “For me, what’s most important is how my jewellery connects with my client’s personality, with his or her individual qualities and experiences. I get so much happiness from making a piece that brings a smile to my client’s face, something that they will keep forever.”

Originally from India, Swapna moved to Los Angeles and was working as a software manager when she decided to pursue part-time postgraduate studies at the Gemological Institute of America. She then started creating pieces for her friends and family, and custom orders were soon rolling in. “I had to decide between my day job and my passion,” she recalls. “And here I am!”

She started up Dream Choice in 2015, designing both ready-to-wear collections and bespoke pieces, including necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches and earrings, as well as objets d’art. All of these are created by her team of master craftsmen in a workshop in the San Fernando Valley neighbourhood of Tarzana. The gems and materials are ethically sourced and a proportion of the profits go to charity. The company has already won two awards from the American Gem Trade Association, taking home both the 2018 Spectrum Classical Award and the Spectrum Carving Award.

“The piece that won in the Classical category – my Dancer brooch – is very close to my heart because I was an Indian classical ballet dancer when growing up,” says Swapna. Depicting an elegant dancer, it features tanzanite from Germany, yellow diamonds and Burmese rubies, with colourless white diamonds. “To me, this brooch symbolizes the energy and efforts that women put in to achieve our goals. You can see the flow of the dancer’s art in her posture.”

Swapna is also intensely proud of the Carving Award winner, a statue of Ganesha hand-carved in Germany with 1,080 carats of Brazilian citrine. “It’s a beautiful, serene piece,” she says. “Inspiration can come from anywhere – observations, conversations or memories – and I’m often inspired by my Indian heritage. I was on a college campus and saw a leaf in the autumn sunshine, with beautiful orange, yellow, green and brown colours in it. And I put a nut next to it, and in the sunshine it was beautiful. I took a picture of it and I gave it to my team and I said, ‘Let’s create a brooch of this’.”

Dream Choice Jewelry is mainly sold through private presentations, while a few pieces are sold via the JewelStreet.com website, but Swapna is working with a few reputed retail stores to make it more widely available. Her goal is to make Dream Choice an internationally recognized green luxury brand, which sells not only jewellery but also fine leather goods and haute couture and, most importantly, which does good in the world through mentorship. “We all need a shoulder to lean on as we go through life,” she says. “More and more, we no longer have the support of grandparents or wider families when we face ordeals. I think that to be a shoulder for teenagers, with their growing souls, is beautiful.”

She is currently working with Amy Stokes, a “CNN Hero” who has earned international acclaim for offering video mentoring to children in South Africa. “Along with Amy, we talk with them, we mentor them, and we make sure that they dream big and put their energies into making their dreams come true.”