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Wanderlust brings Kate Lagos to Hilton Head

Springtime sparks the wanderlust in us; the desire to experience different cultures, to travel and explore.

Story by Eddy Hoyle + Photography by Kim Smith Photo

Wanderlust is what brought Kate Lagos of LAGOS jewelry to Hilton Head for the first time. “Wanderlust brought me to Hilton Head,” Lagos said. “It’s just magical here with the sunlight peeking through the trees and all of the flowers. The air and the smells are such a different feel from the city. The scenery and greenery give it a different vibe. It’s a treasure and I’d like to come back again to take it all in.”

Lagos is a brand stylist, jewelry designer and the daughter of Steven Lagos. She traveled to the Lowcountry to introduce the LAGOS Wanderlust spring jewelry collection at Forsythe Jewelers — specifically the Mandala collection and her first design, the KSL collection.

“Spring events are all about the desire to travel,” Lagos said. “For my dad, inspiration comes from his travels. The design for the Mandala collection was inspired by a trip to Nepal. Its shape is based on a Buddhist symbol that represents the circle of life.” Every year he travels the globe to meet with local artisans who specialize in gemstones specific to that area of the world, and is often inspired when exploring local markets, gem shows, or meeting with specialty dealers.

CROWN Jewels
Many LAGOS pieces were on display at the Forsythe Jewelers trunk show, including the Honeybee Ring from the Rare Wonders collection and this necklace from the Mandala collection.

A family affair

Both father and daughter discover design ideas from sights, sounds, shapes, people or experiences. Lagos is intrigued by architecture and loves geometrical and linear shapes. She brought her design ideas to her father and they collaborated for the first time to create her new jewelry line, the KSL collection. “I went to the design studio and saw all the steps to make a design come to life. It was fun to be with him to create my own collection. He’s ahead of the curve and takes my opinion into consideration in determining trends. My design definitely has a little attitude.” She explained that whether you are looking for an edgy statement ring or some simple pyramid studs, the KSL collection has a more modern style yet fits beautifully with classic Caviar jewelry.

What is a Mandala?

The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself — a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. The mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community. In Tibet, mandalas are part of a spiritual practice. Native Americans have created medicine wheels and sand mandalas. The circular Aztec calendar was both a timekeeping device and a religious expression of ancient Aztecs.

Source: The Mandala Project

“Kate’s pieces are fashion forward,” said Andrea Bragg of Forsythe Jewelers. “They are contemporary, principally two-tone with sterling and 18K gold, and they go well with LAGOS classic pieces. We have carried LAGOS for 14 years and most of our clients want jewelry they can wear every day — on the golf course or out to dinner. LAGOS fits that need. Kate is a good face for the brand. She has lots of positive energy.”

“I’m an only child,” Lagos said. “My dad is a driven man and he raised me to be strong and a hard worker. LAGOS is a brand that is all about empowering women to choose how they want to wear jewelry. He is a huge advocate for women.” She added that she is also motivated and inspired by her mother, Ann King, a jewelry designer with her own line.

Lagos is 27 years old, has worked at LAGOS for four years, and was inspired by two successful parents. “Don’t feel pressure from anyone,” she said. “Follow your heart, whether you’re going along day by day or pushing to achieve whatever your passion is. Don’t be afraid of change, but understand what drives and motivates you. We are all trying to figure out our own futures. It’s not always a straight road. Young people think they must figure it out right away, but they don’t. I’ve been blessed with two parents who have inspired me.”

Bringing beauty to high tech

Lagos said, “It’s important to create a concrete, yet holistic, business plan to determine our direction for the future. We want to look at age trends, intriguing things, and see opportunities. And when targeting a new launch, we need to decide whether to take a risk or go with what’s trending.”

“My father is a trailblazer with the introduction of a beautiful, fine jewelry bracelet for the Apple watch. He is the first to come out with anything like this.” Women who wear Apple watches can now change the leather or synthetic band to a stunning piece of jewelry. This innovative design is available in the Caviar style in sterling, full diamond, or sterling and gold. “We all make statements,” Lagos said. “Do it your own way with your own personal preference.”

Did you know?

• Americans call it jewelry, everyone else calls it jewellery.
• The largest gold nugget ever was found in Australia and weighed over 200 pounds.
• The word jewel comes from the old French jouel, which in turn comes from the Latin jocale, which means ‘plaything.’
• In many cultures jewelry is supposed to ward off evil.
• A large, perfect, gem-quality ruby is worth more than a similar sized diamond.
• The price of a diamond increases with its lack of color.
• Most diamonds are between 1 and 3 billion years old.
• Turquoise is only found in a few places, the biggest region being the southwestern United States.
• In some African cultures enormous earrings are a sign of masculinity, prowess, power and status.
Amber is made of fossilized tree resin.