How EDDI Designer Casey Perez Celebrates Her Mexican Roots During Hispanic Heritage Month

Finding joy in embracing her culture and creating stunning diamond jewelry in the process.

By |

For Casey Perez, founder and designer behind Casey Perez Jewelry and member of our Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative, her Mexican heritage is integral to her creative process. “I take pride in being Mexican American and find joy in being able to embrace both cultures,” Perez tells Only Natural Diamonds. “In the way that I am not just Mexican and not just American, I don’t limit my creativity to just one thing.” Taking inspiration from sculptures and architecture to films and nature, Perez describes her designs as, “an interaction of cultures and influences filtered through my unique lens and in the end come together to create something much more beautiful and complex.” Ahead, Perez gets personal with OND, her experience in EDDI and how her Mexican-American culture has influenced her jewelry.

Learn More About the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative Here

OND: What does celebrating your Hispanic heritage look like for you?

CP: It’s about celebrating the diversity within our culture; Our achievements and contributions. It’s also about honoring the contributions of our families and ancestors, their stories, and how they have influenced us. As part of the jewelry community here in NYC, I also celebrate the many talented Latine/Latinx folks in our industry who work behind the scenes. From castors to setters and everything in between, they make the work of so many designers possible.

Casey Perez Jewelry

Only Natural Diamonds: Could you describe the connection between your designs and your Hispanic heritage?
Casey Perez: I’m a collage of both Mexican and American identities, and it’s the bits and pieces from each that have come together to form a design sensibility that is uniquely mine. In my Tierra Nueva capsule collection, named after my mom’s hometown in Mexico, I wanted to pay homage to my roots. The word “tierra” literally translates to earth in Spanish but it can also be used to refer to one’s homeland as in “mi tierra.” Evoking the contours of various landforms, I wanted the pieces to allow the wearer to connect with the places that are meaningful to them.

OND: What’s some advice your parents shared with you as a child or young adult that continues to inspire you today?
CP: My mom always encouraged me to work hard, be grateful and to give things your all.  She immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, leaving everything behind in order for a chance at a better life. She is the hardest working person I know and has overcome so many obstacles. Her work ethic and resilience never cease to inspire me and drives me to push forward no matter how challenging something might seem.

OND: What’s your experience been like in the EDDI program? How has it helped connect you to the jewelry industry?

CP: The program has been so amazing and I’m super excited to be part of this year’s group of EDDI members. It’s been challenging breaking out into the industry as an emerging designer and the EDDI program has really helped with everything from mentors to sourcing. These resources and opportunities have been invaluable for learning and growing as a designer. When I look at everything I’ve accomplished since starting the program, I feel incredibly proud and grateful.

OND: Have you connected with other Hispanic designers in our jewelry journey with the EDDI program?

CP: Yes! I’ve connected with Ruben Manuel of Ruben Manuel Designs from my cohort who is of Native American and Mexican descent. I was excited that another designer in the group shared this common ancestry and it’s been great getting to know each other as designers and also just as people.