Photo courtesy of Lauren Bedford Russell
Written in Conjunction with ScreenPicks
Season 3 of Showtime’s The Real L Word featured returning stars like Kacy Coccumini and Whitney Mixter. But it also welcomed some fresh faces including jewelry designer Lauren Bedford Russell. And while many now know her for her struggles with her roommate Amanda or her budding relationship with Kiyomi. Yet long before Lauren became a reality star, she was already a successful entrepreneur.
In a recent exclusive interview she talked about her jewelry line and the good causes that benefit from her gorgeous designs. Born in La Jolla, California, Lauren was interested in accessories from an early age. After getting a degree in Business and Gemological studies, she decided to work in a jewelry store.
After deciding she wanted to pursue the specialty for her career, Lauren worked for a year as sketching designs for Ivanka Trump. But she soon decided to start her own line and Lyon Fine Jewelry was born. As she recounted, “I noticed I had something there and I decided to start my own business and I didn’t see anything else like mine out there. “
Marrying ‘70s rock with ‘90s New York, Lauren has definitely developed a signature style. As she described it, “It is all very unique — handmade, edgy, industrial. I use the finest metals and stones so it’s definitely something you can pass down to your children… You can wear it casually or wear it dressed up. It’s very versatile and pretty much unisex, a lot of it.”
It's no wonder her work is attracting big name clients like Adam Lambert, Jason Mraz, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Cyndi Lauper. It looks good and it’s also socially conscious. Lauren explained why she uses only conflict free stones in her pieces. “It’s really important to make sure that everything you do in business is not hurting our world we live in or people or animals. And I just try to do the best I can.”
In fact, Lauren does more than her best. Her 2012 collection features a series of bracelets that benefit various charities. The “Rock the Vote” piece supports the organization that encourages young people to register. And the “Forward” bracelet pays homage to the Obama/Biden ticket’s slogan.
But it’s the “Equality” bracelet that is perhaps nearest and dearest to Lauren’s heart. The first one that she created in the series, Lauren acknowledged, “I wanted to give back to the community in some way within my company. So I designed the ‘Equality’ bracelet to have something that you can wear every day that wasn’t over the top, rainbows and stuff like that. It’s very simple and elegant and it also goes night or day to wear it.”
And as with the others in the altruistic end of her line, it also benefits a good cause. As Lauren noted, “Twenty percent of proceeds go to a charity called Friendfactor and basically Friendfactor is charity that is a straight alliance for gay friends. So I really like the idea of people besides homosexuals supporting homosexuals.”
Another offering is called “Limitless,” which Lauren noted, “really shows that you can do anything. It supports people who have disabilities and actually teaches them action sports so it’s the idea that anything is possible.” Twenty percent of proceeds from the sale of each “Limitless Bracelet” go to Adaptive Action Sports.
Lauren’s good ideas keep coming. She’s currently working on a piece that will benefit a yet to be chosen animal charity. And her new “Equality” ring is drawing lots of support. She acknowledged, “Everyone’s obsessed with. It’s so popular. It’s silver and it’s very simple.”
Plus she’s hoping to make her line more accessible to a wider audience. Her fine jewelry pieces can run from $1,400 for a pair of earrings to $30,000 for a custom engagement ring. But Lauren conceded, “I want to try to keep up quality but come out with stuff that’s more approachable for people that don’t have a couple of thousand dollars to spend on a ring.”
Even Lauren’s decision to sign on to The Real L Word came from a good-hearted place. As she revealed, “I wanted to show someone that was successful, runs their own business. I don’t look like the typical lesbian. And it was a situation where it was a good opportunity and I thought I could get some exposure for my line and help the community as well.”
To learn more about Lauren Bedford Russell’s Lyon Fine Jewelry line visit her official website.