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Candias, the founder of Iris 1956, credits her love of jewelry to her grandmother and the neighborhood women wearing gold medallion jewelry in the 90s. Before turning her passion into a business, the Crescent City native worked in real estate and as a financial advisor for credit unions and local banks in New Orleans. After receiving praise for her handmade rings, she attended the New Orleans School of Metalsmithing to perfect her craft and launched her company in 2017. Her modern-day heirlooms feature ethically sourced gemstones and metals, and each piece is designed to tell a story about the wearer.

WHY NEW ORLEANS?

I want to make an impact in my hometown showing young creative Black women growing up here that, like me, they can have a seat at the table.

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WHAT DO YOU DO TO NURTURE CREATIVITY?

I go within, pray, take walks, meditate, read self-help books, and practice positive daily affirmations.

HOW DID THE PANDEMIC INFLUENCE YOUR CREATIVITY?

The pandemic has taught me to stay focused and to be patient with myself. It has allowed me to get quiet and go deeper within. It also gave me free time to study what is needed jewelry wise in the city of New Orleans.

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WHAT IS INSPIRING YOU RIGHT NOW?

I am inspired by nature, especially water. I am currently designing a new collection, and I'm noticing most of the pieces are reminiscent of water or waves.

FAVORITE PART ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?

I love having the freedom to create. It's a beautiful blessing which brings me much joy and peace.

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FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND A SATURDAY AFTERNOON?

Bike ride in City Park ending with crawfish.

FAVORITE QUOTE?

"Only from the heart can you touch the sky."

Rumi

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Interviews have been edited and condensed.

This article appeared in the April 2021 Issue of Adore Magazine.