When I first saw De Petra jewelry, I was captivated. It was more than just the distinctive stones, the thoughtfully raw edges, or the subtle shades of moonstone playing with colorful leathers, but the genuine, unequivocal ownership of an aesthetic. What was also clear though, was that this aesthetic is more than just an aesthetic, but a medium of communication, a way that the sisters of De Petra share the innate magic that comes with every piece of De Petra jewelry. The phrase “sisters of De Petra” is itself a double entendre of the most wonderful sort: the sister duo of Cynthia Sheridan and Lorena Rodriguez source and create this enchanting jewelry, and those with whom they share these pieces are also part of a certain “sisterhood” that stems from the energy and spirit embedded in each piece. That energy of De Petra jewelry is palpable, and even before I met the remarkable women behind this art, it was clear that the De Petra aesthetic is a conduit for something beyond sartorial perfection.
Growing up in Mexico, Cynthia and Lorena’s childhood home had a constant flow of “sensitive, thoughtful, inspiring people” streaming through. The daughters of a respected politician, artist, and intellectual, the sisters always counted aesthetics and art as a part of their daily lexicon and experience. Cynthia painted; Lorena loved fashion design; and both continued to explore their respective arts upon arrival in the States in the early 2000s. This intrinsic artistic inquiry took a critical turn in 2008 when Cynthia and Lorena began to explore ways to wear different minerals and stones. Cynthia had compiled a collection of natural stones, and the sisters began toying with how to wear minerals in an elegant, distinctive way. Lorena laughs as she recalls how she started hammering volcanic rock in an attempt to work that rock as well as other stones into something wearable; mission accomplished, and De Petra was born.
When asked what inspires them, the sisters pause before definitively citing nature as their “number one inspiration. We look at the combinations in flowers and explore how to emulate those colors and patterns in a piece,” Cynthia explains. Lorena also emphasizes the importance of “moments, moments in which you experience the personality, clothes, and spirit of a woman and want to make a piece for her.” De Petra believes women are powerful, feminine, and spiritual, and De Petra jewelry reflects this triumvirate. This “strong feminine feel” resonates with many, including creative think tanks Anthropologie and Free People. While both stores carry pieces of De Petra jewelry, Cynthia and Lorena are also in the midst of making exclusive pieces for the Anthropologie home collection; these one-of-a-kind pieces are slated to debut this fall.
De Petra is more than jewelry and décor though; De Petra is the “synergy” between two sisters; it is two creative visions coming together in the name of common values and a singular commitment to creating spiritual, thoughtful art that results in De Petra. Cynthia and Lorena’s choice to call their line De Petra Art in Jewelry is not arbitrary. Each piece is handmade in their Houston studio, and with only two in-house assistants, the majority of pieces are designed, sourced, made, and finished by Cynthia and Lorena. Every piece of leather is hand cut; every piece of metal is hand hammered. As the De Petra team agrees, “when you finish a piece in the studio, you really feel the energy (in the piece).” Each piece is “well-made, not ‘perfect;’ each piece has a soul. Lorena and Cynthia point to the importance of an artist actually putting their own hands on a piece as such an intimate process of design and construction allows for the artist to transmit their own thoughts and love into that piece. In this sense, it is no surprise that the women who wear De Petra feel a visceral connection to the jewelry. The essence of De Petra is “life, power, femininity, and spirituality,” thus it follows that for the wearer of De Petra “pieces are an extension of herself” as “she marries her spirit with the piece.”
No collection better exemplifies the soul of De Petra jewelry than the Cosmic Eye collection. The sisters differentiate between Cosmic Eye and the Evil Eye; the former refers to a “cosmic consciousness,” and is a “means of connecting (with others).” Lorena and Cynthia explain how these pieces are “a reminder to be conscious,” when consciousness is defined as interconnectivity, interdependence, and empowerment. The sisters refer explicitly to the “sisterhood of the Cosmic Eye,” that is, the stunning network of compassion and collaboration that is possible when relationships are prioritized and a common experience is emphasized. In this sense, De Petra is a conduit for something far greater than The Perfect Outfit; De Petra is a vehicle for meaningful connections with others.