Nails of New York: Susan Schell

March 5, 2015

Look closely—do you recognize these beautiful hands? Jewelry designer Susan Schell has been hand-modeling for Paintbox for several seasons, but it's what she does when she's not modeling that we're spotlighting here. Susan and business partner Maria de Diego run a custom bridal jewelry line together called Bobby Pin. Maria founded the line in 2011 and brought Susan on board to help design and produce beautiful, one-of-a-kind heirloom pieces for brides to wear at their weddings. As part of our focus on all things bridal this month (to coincide with the launch of our Bridal Collection), we asked Susan if we could visit the Bobby Pin studio and talk to her more about the work she and Maria do creating custom jewelry. 

Susan wears Moonstruck in Essie Penny Talk.

Why do you paint your nails?

I like to paint my nails for aesthetic reasons and because I feel like they are less likely to break with polish on. I always have at the very least a clear coat of polish on my nails. As a jewelry designer, I sometimes work with rough materials and tools so having strong nails is really important to me. Having nicely painted nails just makes me feel better when I look down at my hands; it makes me feel more put together.

Susan designing a custom piece for the Bobby Pin collection.

Do you have a favorite polish or go-to look?

I personally love having solid white nails. It just looks really clean and is simple enough to go with anything. Floss Gloss has a great white called "Mrs. Tony Montana." It is perfectly opaque. I really love a good metallic nail, maybe because I work with precious metals. Essie makes a great silver called "No Place Like Chrome" that I like to wear when my nails are longer.

Where do you find your inspiration?

When I'm designing jewelry I am often inspired by geometric patterns and nature—especially flowers and leaves. These seem to be themes that I reference a lot and turn to for ideas. The thing I love about making custom jewelry and accessories is that I get to be inspired by something completely new with each client. My business partner, Maria de Diego (founder of Bobby Pin Jewelry), and I work really well together, we seem to come up with even better designs when we bounce ideas off of each other. We both have major obsessions with the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements so we find tons of inspiration and ideas from those styles.

Pieces from the Bobby Pin collection.

What do you love most about working on custom pieces for brides?

At Bobby Pin, Maria and I work with brides to make completely custom jewelry for their wedding day. Everything about your wedding is personalized to you, so we work with our customers to make jewelry, hair pieces, and accessories that are like new heirloom pieces—pieces that our clients can wear time and time again and eventually pass on to their children. I really feel like the details are what make a wedding especially memorable, whether that is a piece of unique custom jewelry or a very special manicure.

Nails of New York: Susan Schell

Read more about Bobby Pin or place a custom order here.