Tura Sugden: Designer

Tura Sugden’s designs have been on my mind since I first saw her collection last fall at the WJA Designers by the Bay event. Since she’s a local designer here in San Francisco, I decided to invite myself to her studio in Noe Valley for a visit. She’s so kind, and she was more than happy to show me around.


Starting the morning off right at Tura's studio!
Starting the morning off right at Tura’s studio!

There’s nothing like seeing an artist’s bench and trays of gems just waiting to be tried on!

tura sugden's studio
tura sugden earrings
I asked Tura how she got started in the jewelry business, and here’s her reply:

“I studied fine art and graduated with a BFA in sculpture. During school I was always very fabrication-focused; I loved the process of making an object. I was most comfortable working on a small scale and my work had a very natural progression towards jewelry. I started a traditional jewelry apprenticeship in my last year of college, and I continued working for jewelers for seven years. I developed my line while apprenticing and just last year I went full time with it.”

I am SO not surprised how this new line has been steadily growing in popularity. (This girl is going places!) I find it truly unique, and I love the cage-like settings around diamond slices.

tura sugden champagne diamond slice cluster earrings
She has mentioned that she uses a German blow torch, and I asked her to explain what this is:

“This type of torch changed my life! It feels so intuitive and natural to me. It incorporates the power of breath to supply oxygen and a gas (I use propane), which is controlled by a hand-adjusted valve. You’re using your breath and your hands together to control heat, which makes it easier to solder pieces that might otherwise become easily overheated. It’s a deeply traditional way of soldering that is no longer widely used – many jewelers I talk to have never heard of it!”

tura sugden using her german blow torch
I can only imagine all the hard work that goes into designing and making a jewelry line. I asked her what her favorite part of it all is, and she told me, “I am in love with executing a project. Most of my work is one-of-a-kind, so each piece I produce presents new challenges. It never gets boring and it allows me a freedom with my work that I’m really grateful for.”

I wanted to know what her current favorite piece is:

“A few weeks ago I produced a new cuff that is my ultimate favorite every day piece. The Needle Eye Cuff incorporates a design motif I’ve been using in my work and is the most luxe weight. It’s a really streamlined piece and I’m proud of the engineering of it— it features an invisible clasp and a fantastic fit, and I love how it stacks with other bracelets and bangles. I’m about to produce it in multiple sizes!”

I must admit, I love it too!

tura sugden bracelet
Since she’s a local, I decided to ask some flash questions as well, as I’m always looking for hot tips!

Favorite SF restaurant
La Ciccia or Locanda, I can’t pick!

Favorite SF store
ZGO – I’m a scent junkie

Favorite thing to do when you’re not working
Cooking is my favorite way to unwind after work. Second favorite is eating!

Clothing item you can’t live without
A cashmere sweater!! I have one on me at all times.

Dream travel destination
I can’t wait to get to Bali…

I have to say, I truly enjoyed getting an inside look at Tura’s work and life. Thanks so much for having me! If you’re interested in seeing her line, click here for a list of stockists.


white gold oval ring
white gold oval ring