My story Irina Victoria

My Story

Self-sufficiency, creative thinking, problem solving and a can-do attitude; whether it was to save money or learn something new, DIY was (still is) the way in my family. For teenage me, that spirit manifested itself in sewing handbags, redesigning my clothes and making jewelry. The latter—specifically, a pair of dangly hoop earrings strung with crystal beads—caught the attention of many classmates.

The first "Can you make me a pair?!" launched me into a whirlwind of excitement and possibility! It was the early 2000s and I was a senior in high school. My friend dubbed my designs Iringz, a play on my name but pronounced like earrings. I sold my creations between classes from a reused cardboard jewelry box and occasionally took custom requests.

Call it a sense of pride or fulfillment, whatever it was, I can't stress enough how good it felt to handcraft something and have people want to buy it. I even dedicated my year-long "senior journey" project to starting a jewelry business. How foreshadowing, right?

I wish this was where it all started, but life's not that straightforward. As an immigrant born in Ukraine (USSR at the time), I felt the unspoken pressure of my parents' sacrifices for my shot at the American Dream.

Like many young adults in my situation, I sidelined a creative pursuit for a future deemed more stable. I graduated college with a degree in microbiology and worked as a lab research associate in molecular biology and sequencing.

... Do people typically have a quarter-life crisis? Because about 3 years into my job, I sure did. In a nutshell, I was unfulfilled and thought a hobby would perk me up.

Turns out it did way more than that. A beginner's metalsmithing workshop reignited my creative curiosity to start a handmade jewelry business.

After 2 years of working full-time and fostering a jewelry side hustle, I quit my job in science. Irina Victoria Jewelry ( was founded in 2014.

I handcrafted minimalist gold-filled and gold vermeil jewelry for years while quietly exploring fine jewelry sourcing and production. As a business, I wanted to embrace minimalism beyond the aesthetic. That meant using higher quality materials, emphasizing craftsmanship, abandoning trend-driven fashion, and refusing mindless consumerism.

My work transitioned from demi-fine jewelry to solely fine jewelry in 2019, focusing on eco-conscious sourcing and production. My goal is to create timeless and effortlessly chic designs you're proud to wear because of the core values behind them. From everyday staples available online to private custom work, you can expect the same level of care.

For the record, I don't regret my time in STEM. I've always felt a pull in two directions—the analytical and the creative. Now I can appreciate that's what makes me and my brand one of a kind.

My Values

Sustainability isn't a matter of preference; it's doing the right thing for the future of our planet.
Lead with kindness. The world is a tough place, so be a force for good.
Stay curious. Ask questions, explore ideas, and never stop learning.
Embrace a minimalist lifestyle. Less is more, and life isn't a competition.
In a world dominated by algorithms and trends, remember that you're one of a kind!

From the journal