“She would say, just go with your instinct.. Your gut will not fail you. You’re everything that you think – so always strive to do better.“
At a young age, Janina Dizon‘s passion for jewelry and design developed early under the discerning eye of the women in her family, namely her mother, Jul Dizon and the late Paz Bañas. The latter just so happened to be Janina’s late grandmother. As a third-generation jeweler, Janina’s style became known for its blend of modernity and tradition.
In 2008, she opened her own store at The Peninsula Manila, and the brand has flourished throughout the years with Janina immersing herself in different project lines that teeter towards the creation of edgy, classic, and brilliant pieces that showed her inspired love for everything she took in. Whether through fashion, music, the 1920s, and different stylistic variations shifted between the East and West. From one-of-a-kind charms, statement necklaces, tiaras, and earrings, especially seen in her new enamel focused jewelry line “Joier Janina”.
Now, what makes her brand different from the extensive line of her influential family? It is Janina Dizon herself, who brings her lively, charming, and fanciful spirit into each of the wonderful sets she creates for herself, clients, and friends.
Mr Warburton Magazine sits down with the award-winning gemologist as we get to chat with her on her new line, Joier Janina, projects, and motivational creativity through the times.
Mr Warburton: Has jewellery and design always fascinated you? When did your inclination toward this kind of industry from the beginning start?
Janina Dizon: Well, you could say that I was born into it. The jewelry business was started in the 1930s by my grandmother. Afterwards, my mom opened her own in the 70s and then in the 2000s, I ventured out as a third-generation jeweler. It’s in the blood for me to be groomed to take over one day. But it also goes for the whole family, including my brothers who are part of the production by dealing with the workshop, artisans, and the goldsmiths.
Mr Warburton: At what age did you start dabbling into it?
Janina Dizon: At such a young age, everyone was still playing outside or watching TV. But my mother made my siblings and I sit with her for a couple of hours every day, observing what she was doing.
We had no choice, but we didn’t necessarily have to do anything mind-boggling back then, it was just about observing. In hindsight, that was probably her way of showing us the ropes and talking to people about handling yourself in the business.
During high school summer, we would assist her. It was our version of an internship and it gave us an introduction because we started very young giving us a lieu way into the world of design.
She would give us stones to play with, making us count stones, which, by the way, is a tedious task, especially when they are small. This taught us to be patient, and see how things work from the administrative and supply backend.
Mr Warburton: Because of the fact that your grandmother and the entire family are in this industry, how did you actually start when it came to carving your aesthetic for the brand that you have?
JD: When I opened my store in 2008, I was thinking of creating a younger vibe, My mom had established a more mature line. I found my niche because of the I love I harbour for vintage jewelry combined with the twists of modern and edgy design components. So I tried to incorporate that into the whole scheme of my work. That’s how it started. I can’t really tell you, what kind of jewelry, in particular, spoke to me. Because it’s a never-ending process of creation and seeing what inspires me, it can be fashion, books, movies..etc.
Mr Warburton: Would you say your style is classic with a splash of Picasso in there for Joier Janina? Because from what I see with your designs, it’s all quite still traditional but there is that edge. You experiment with different varieties of shapes. Where do you get your affinity for enamel?
JD: I’ve always loved enamel and ivory. So anything that dates back to more rare kinds of minerals that we don’t use anymore. It’s something I always held an affinity for. So trying to bring it to the modern times was actually what I really wanted to do, especially with Joier Janina. So if there is anything that’s traditional that I do, I always just put just a tiny spin to it, just to make sure that. It’s still me.
And it’s still something I’ve always been asked, who do I design for? my response is, that I design for myself. Because, in the end, I would reflect and think, ‘would it be something that I would keep in my collection? Is it something that I can pass on to my children? That’s the only time that I can say, okay, I’m very happy with what I have done.
Mr Warburton: So how do you keep yourself motivated with what you do, especially with the pieces that you create?
JD: One of the biggest motivations for me is to travel, it has always broadened my horizons. I see things more when I’m in that relaxed state of mind. And in turn, It’s a new perspective and that brings back inspiration for me.
So it could be really anything. But what I’ve learned is that I should let things flow — for instance, if I am not feeling okay today, and I’m forcing myself to design. The end result would be nothing despite me saying, I have to do this. That also goes for the inspiration I see in everyday life, since there is so much to see.
Mr Warburton: Do you feel like your creativity in a sense has become a little bit slower because of what’s been happening?
JD: Yeah, At some point, my creativity hit a wall with the whole situation and bringing myself out of the rut was not easy. It was a little difficult for me to actually go back into it and try to be a little bit more forthcoming. At some point, You don’t have to force yourself into it at all, and you just have to just ride this wave, see how you feel and see what you can do. And I think that was one of the biggest catalysts that led to the creation of the monogram collection, which is called Joier.
We were at home, looking over our computers and just thought; you know, it does make a big difference when it’s more personal, having the type of jewelry that you can wear day in and out. So it’s not just big statement pieces but something that you can show, wear every day and enjoy. I’ve always loved monograms. I can monogram everything.
Mr Warburton: Yeah. It was very Disney-esque piece that, I think, Cinderella would wear! How is this line so different from your previous ones?
JD: This is highly personal. So It’s different in the sense than the usal. We are having a really, uh, strong dialogue between client and designer as the fact that you can choose your fonts,colors, gemstones, and the shape. It’s building the foundation and it definitely brings me closer to my clients because I see right away what are their preferences.
I call it a beautiful and unique DIY process. Everyone is different and you see that some would go for something more different,simple, or edgy. Combine that with different fonts that veer from the romantic and classic. It’s quite special to see that happening right in front of their eyes. And the biggest part of this collection is the introduction of 3D jewelry printing, which was shown to us by my partner, it gave us something tangible to work with and it was what we went for.
So Joier is very special, highly stylized, and personal, which is what I felt was needed, especially during the pandemic. Take, for instance, Poma, his piece was especially wonderful to make because knowing how he is and the life he has, the design was personal. It centred on his love for tennis and that he is a go-getter. That’s why the dialogue between the client and designer is imperative. It’s really something that creates a strong bond of trust because it’s all about you.
Mr Warburton: Okay. Now, if you were given the opportunity in your feature to work on a bigger scale, would you take it because like, would you do international shipping abroad and set up an expansion?
JD: Well, we actually do. We have clients all the way from Australia to Ireland, The US, Singapore, Spain, and The UK.
And I think it’s something it’s something different that they’ve not seen before. When it comes to setting up in a different country? I don’t know. That I think is a little too much for me at this point. I am quite happy doing this for now, but I’m already thinking, okay, maybe in the next 5-10 years, it’s already something that maybe I can pass on to my children.
Mr Warburton: Well, the other question is, how do you maintain your motivation when it comes to working on a project that takes months to complete?
JD: Yeah, it has everything to do with efficiency,discipline and organization. I mean, it’s something that I think you’ll have. You just have to practice on making sure that you hit a certain time, like a day for your tasks. There are times, of course, that I get lazy and would rather just sit down and do nothing. But I always, always say to myself, okay, you can do that. Even if it takes months to complete.So there is no reason for you to be worried and as long as you’re making sure that you’re fulfilling your part in the process.
Mr Warburton: So, do you have other projects apart from this new line that you came up with?
JD: We’re actually evolving where we always liked to evolve into something different, something new, and with it now, malls, I would like to take it into a different step
Now there are many ideas that we have in our heads. we’re also thinking of doing something very special that can’t be announced yet, but it’s something that we will only have. So a very special line that no one has, we’re very excited about that. There’s always wonder about being creative, and innovative, which at times, leads to people copying your work. But that’s why I think there’s still so much more to do, you just have to get there first. So be ahead of the game, just as long as you don’t follow anyone, let them follow you.
Mr Warburton: If your mom was here right now and she was telling you what to do with your new line, what’s the best piece of advice that she would give you?
JD: She would say, just go with your instinct.. Your gut will not fail you. You’re everything that you think – so always strive to do better. That was always her thing. Like she would always just try to say, “Oh, that’s beautiful, but I know you can make it even better to do it a little more.”
I’m not saying that she was never happy or never satisfied. It’s not bad, but I think she was really successful in gentle goading — to do better. That would be her advice — basically go with it. It’s very good advice for anyone and everything.
Article Written by Cyan Leigh Dacasin, Managing Editor