Wanting to please his mother, 19-year-old Roma Lansky envisioned a pair of earrings that would highlight her best qualities. He sketched out his design idea, gave it to an artisan to fabricate and his lifelong pleasure of giving gifts of beauty was born.
Now a successful businessman based in Barcelona, Roma has continually kept his hand in the art of jewelry design. His inspiration springs from the places he visits, nature, architecture and beautiful women. “I never sell any of my pieces,” says Roma. “I would give them to friends who I love and respect.” Looking out for him, these friends began to encourage him to do something more with his talent.
“The idea came to me that I should use these objects I create to somehow help the world,” says Roma. While visiting a friend’s child in a cancer ward in Belgium, he realized he could donate his jewelry to the hospital charity, aiding families lacking funds to pay for expensive medication.
Nati Abascal, Spanish style icon and ex-model, introduced Roma to several fashion designers, who then styled their magazine shoots, videos and runways with Roma’s R.L. Jewel earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces. Eventually, names like Berta, Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Giorgio Armani, Valentino and Oscar de la Renta began to feature his work on their models.
Readers and viewers who asked where they could buy the pieces were told that they were not for sale, but advised that they could be bid on at various upcoming charity auctions. The highly desirable designs brought in nearly $300,000 last year for children’s charities including two in Russia, two in Spain and one in the United Kingdom.
Roma foots the bill for all the materials that go into the making of his jewelry, so that the entire price brought at auction can be used where it will do the most good. By designing with a lightweight silver alloy, even the largest pieces are easy and comfortable to wear. Semiprecious stones like quartz, peridot, topaz and amethyst look rich, but keep costs in check. Exclusivity is assured by limiting production to five to 10 copies of each design.
To build word of mouth about his work, Roma has given away his jewelry to European beauties with large media followings, such as model and Victoria’s Secret Angel Katsia Damankova and model Tatiana Korsakova. They support R.L. Jewel, wearing his pieces and auctioning them for their own charitable projects “Live” and “Gracious Heart.”
Recently, the international fashion network FashionTV aired a video featuring R.L. Jewel pieces worn by popular European actress and singer Vera Brezhneva, founder of the charity “Luch Very” (Beam of Faith). The spot promoted Roma’s own charitable project “Pretty Hearts,” and the entire line sold out.
Korsakova praises the designer and those who support his work. “I think the concept behind R.L. Jewel is not just about the beauty of what Roma creates,” says Korsakova, “but the beauty and love in the hearts of the people who give generously knowing that wearing his jewelry helps children everywhere.”
> Written By: Francine Kaplan