When Yves Spinelli of Spinelli Kilcollin told us we had to check out his friend Castro’s jewelry line, Castro NYC, we knew it was worth the look. What we discovered was a skillful craftsman, devoted to his art, producing some truly unique and adventurous pieces. His beautiful handmade jewelry almost can’t be categorized. From fur talisman paws to pearls laced with stones, Castro’s confident collections are imaginative and mystical.
Here, Castro shares his journey through the industry and how he went from repairing and selling jewelry to creating the jewels of his dreams. He explains the “art of no style” and why he’s his own best muse—looking inside for inspiration. Castro’s creative spirit, bold personal style, and uncompromising approach to quality and uniqueness are inspiring. -Jenna Fain for The Stone Set
How did your life lead you to launch your jewelry line?
My mom says I was real artistic when I was young and always knew I would be one. Funny I didn’t see it. I was more into sports and girls growing up. Then after, I was just in the ether for years. At a point, I went to jewelry repair school for one weekend. Then my ex-wife and I opened a jewelry store. We were just selling things no one was making. One day someone asked me to make them a ring. I think that is when I got the bug/itch. I didn’t make with my hands but assisted in the creation process. That was mad dope…selling was boring. After, I got into designing clothes which took me to Chicago and then to NYC.
I got inspired to do a little capsule collection of jewelry after a trip to Belgium. Crazy charm stuff with antique key chains and a lot of drape chains. No one was going ham like that at the time. The stores loved it but were scared of it being so different. They tried to buy it for half of what I wanted. I went half way around the world to collect that stuff. I just sold to friends instead. Next, I worked for someone in SoHo on the street selling his jewelry, eventually getting my own street boutique. This is where it all changed because a good customer suggested I make my own collection of things I liked. The rest is history.
What’s your brand philosophy and who’s your muse?
The art of no style. I refuse to be held by just one style. Caged like a lab monkey—I’d be that one animal to break out of his cage and bite everyone. I do what I want. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it: it’s simple. Not hard.
As for my muse, it’s me, myself, and I. I look within myself for inspiration. I could never ever be inspired by another individual. I am my biggest fan, hater, supporter, and downfall sometimes. Only I can pick myself up and get the ball rolling.
What are your trademark pieces? What pieces do you personally wear every day?
My fur talisman paws, dollies, and animal skull pieces from the first three collections. People still love that. Bananas! Oh yeah, any of the pearl jewelry laced with stones and gold polka dots. And my baby infinity locks that work. Unlike a lot of others. How can you piece a lock if it doesn’t open and close?
What do I wear? Dollies galore, two fur paws with diamond claws, a bunch of laced infinity locks and two phat rings an my pinky fingers. I keep it playa. One is my world domination ring with ebony woods and diamond constellation and the other is my multi-color penninah Panther skull ring. Looks like purple rain is on my pinky.
What sets you apart from other jewelry designers?
What sets me apart is that I am an artist and I make everything with my bare hands. Also, I make pieces that cannot easily be knocked off. Too unique to do so. I pride myself on that.
What drives and excites you?
Creating something and seeing it come to life. It’s like making a baby. You just can’t wait for the baby to come out. When people get it and understand it and buy it, now that is exciting.