Amanda Assad Mounser - Jewelry Designer
I had admired Amanda Mounser from a far (ok from Instagram) for a while before meeting her. Her seriously cool style that mixes masculine, feminine and sporty elements for a look all her own, her motorcycle rides upstate with her adorable husband and the bold, yet fluid shapes that she creates for her jewelry brand Mounser are all envy inducing.
And then I met her and fell in love with her even more! We chatted over margaritas at Forgetmenot in early fall and I was smitten. Her easy, welcoming and open energy gives you the sense you’re speaking to an old friend. And like old friends do, we covered a lot of territory.
She told me the story of how she met her husband back in the days of My Space when her best friend corralled her to travel with her to the UK to meet the guy she had fallen for on the now defunct platform. Like a script out of a rom-com, Amanda clicked with the roommate and they’ve been married for the past 12 years (and her friend’s love story is still going strong too!)
It’s a story that makes you feel like fairy tales can actually come true and is one of many inspiring things about Amanda. Cruise through her press page and you’ll find mentions in Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, alongside photos of her pieces on notables like Reese Witherspoon, Emilia Clarke, Solange Knowles, Lady Gaga and Kate Bosworth. She makes it all look so easy, but she’s also very open about the hard work, the challenges and the tough decisions that also come along with running your own business.
She talks honestly about the decision to step away from her first business, another jewelry brand that achieved fast success based on a trend driven style that she no longer felt connected to. But as Amanda explains more below, what felt at first like a failure turned out to be an opportunity to revisit her true creative interests. That period of exploration helped shape the vision for her current brand, Mounser, an expression that feels like a true extension of the designer herself. And it’s an admirable lesson about having the courage to choose the path that may seem terrifying at first, but usually ends up leading you in the right direction.
Amanda is clearly not afraid of reinvention, especially given that she has just made the move from her long-time home of New York to LA with her husband and pup, so she’s also sort of my hero in terms of seizing upon the opportunity for adventure.
Amanda is truly a gem and such a talent in jewelry today, I’m so glad she welcomed me into her world. See below in her own words.
You have such a great eye and talent for design, what inspires you most and how do you start developing each collection?
I take a sculptural approach to jewelry design with inspiration rooted in nature. I start by thinking of a memory or feeling - the way the sun makes waves sparkle, the feeling of gazing into a full moon and star dotted endless sky or the perfect warm yet cool green color of the sea, and then determine how to create an abstract sculptural projection of that idea.
I really try to create based from a 360-degree viewpoint considering all angles of space a piece takes up as well as it’s movement. My creative process is about the parts as much as a whole, so I start by developing individual components, and once I have all the pieces that I find interesting, I begin a process of experimentation in the combination of those parts – it’s a 3D collage so to speak.
What are you most proud of in your jewelry career so far? What has been the most rewarding moment?
I just love that I get to create from my heart for a living. And I find so much joy in the fact that I am able to connect to people through my designs. So, it’s really not just one moment because every day is a step on a thrilling journey for me.
I’m so inspired by the way you made the decision to move on from your first brand, which led to the reinvention of your current brand, which is so timeless, yet modern and versatile. Can you speak about the challenges of running your own business and how sometimes making those scary decisions can lead to even greater rewards down the road?
I decided to move forward from my old brand because I was operating within a design aesthetic that no longer aligned with my vision creatively and I felt it necessary to pursue a new direction. I enjoy so many creative pursuits, I took time between brands to really explore them - sculpture, painting, drawing, furniture design etc. That experimentation period ultimately led me to my new direction with jewelry, as well as insight into where the brand could go from a bigger picture standpoint. That time was filled with insight and I am so thankful for it! I have always been into taking risks and going for what I want and that ethos has been invaluable in running my business. It has helped me stay fluid in forward motion, and allowed me to evolve.
What do you love most about designing?
I love that I am creating art for a fashion customer. I really enjoy making things with my hands, and experimenting with compositions. Seeing an idea move from concept to reality is so fulfilling to me. love the freedom and flexibility my brand of design also allows.
What, have you learned about yourself through designing/running your own business?
I've really pushed what I am capable of by being open, flexible and willing to move and ride the wave. I've learned that taking risks is integral to forward motion, and that organic growth is key to sustaining.
What are your personal favorite pieces of jewelry and what are the stories behind them?
I have a Saint Christopher pendant that was my Mom's in Junior High - they were exchanged between young lovers at that time as a commitment to going steady. I also adore my wedding bands - one is gold and was my husband's grandmother’s, and one is silver and vintage a counterpart to his - we bought them in a vintage store in Chelsea our first year in New York. I also have some beautiful and timeless sterling silver Elsa Peretti for Tiffany studs my sister gave me as a wedding present that I love and will have forever. I guess all of my favorite pieces are connected with love in some way.
You’re about to embark on a new adventure, moving from New York to LA. What are your fave New York haunts, the ones that will be on your “see you again soon” list, and why are they your faves?
Alma on the Columbia Heights waterway has the best Mexican food - I will miss it so much. The dining area is on the roof top and has the most beautiful views of Manhattan. I also love Elsa in Brooklyn Heights for modern art deco vibes and the most yummy cocktails. The Beekman and Carlyle Hotels are the coziest spots for winter time tea breaks.
Storm King, Dia Beacon, The Whitney, The Met, Gagosian and David Zwirner Galleries, Hole Gallery, Karma, I love to walk through the street of FiDi - there are so many amazing large scale modernist sculptures - it is really special.
Totokaelo, La Garconne in Tribeca, BDDW and The Future Perfect for aspirational furniture.
I don't have time for too much of this sadly, however a soak in the baths at Aire in Tribeca is my one indulgence - it is so beautiful and relaxing, its heaven.
Brooklyn Bridge Park and Prospect Park for instant gratification. Cold Springs, Beacon, The Rockaways and Bear Mountain for the day. Montauk and Hudson for the weekend. My husband has a motorcycle so we really love to hop on the back of the bike (weather permitting) and explore.
@mounserstudio The designer and her sartorial skills