Today we’d like to introduce you to Gielene Dela Cruz Wagas.
Gielene Dela Cruz, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My love for gold started when I inherited my first gold necklace from my mom. In 2018, I moved to Downtown Los Angeles with my partner, Ken. He introduced me to the Jewelry District and the places he bought his chains. During that time, I was working as a Licensed Vocational Nurse and selling handmade chokers on the side. I decided to take a leap of faith and bought two pieces of solid gold jewelry to sell – a Mary and a cross necklace. To my surprise, they sold in less than an hour and people were requesting for more! I gradually started buying more pieces. Initially, I was only selling in-person and through Instagram. I started getting invited to do pop up shops in LA – word was traveling fast. I was getting direct messages from people all over the world. At that moment, I decided to open an online shop and quit nursing. As of today, SHOPDELAGOLD carries over 400 products. Ranging from custom/personalized pieces, earrings, bracelets, Jade and nearly 100 religious chain and pendant sets.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The constant fluctuation in the value of gold is sometimes a challenge to explain to clients. In some cases, gold will experience an increase in prices up to $100 in less than a day. Also, I put an immense amount of thought behind each piece I release. There is a lot of cultural sensitivities with the pieces I carry. My inspiration is rooted from my Filipino heritage. Most recently, due to the pandemic our manufacturing facilities are working at a much smaller capacity.
Please tell us about SHOPDELAGOLD.
SHOPDELAGOLD is a jewelry atelier that specializes in custom and authentic 14k solid gold pieces. My inspiration and motivation derive from the Philippines, where I was born and raised. I use my Filipino roots in defining my jewelry line. The collection features a line of Jade pieces that reflects my upbringing influenced by Filipino – Chinese traditions. The shop also features religious chain and pendant sets highlighting growing up a Catholic. Another reason that makes my shop special is, we open our doors for our clients in creating any ideas/designs and turning them into solid gold jewelry. Above all, the true essence of Shopdelagold is we offer pieces that hold value and lasts a lifetime. I want to continue the tradition of passing gold jewelry to future generations, just like my mom and dad did for me.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything I know now, I learned along the way. I’m still growing and learning as I go. Everything happened organically and I’m blessed to be where I’m at today.
Photography: Will Azcona; Models: Ty Wiley, Tamia Mathis, John Erick Ramos, Isis Cahuas, Julia Copie