Brazilian designer builds exotic jewelry company in Marion
Marion — When a pair of women stopped Anna Pellissari on the streets of Paris to ask her whose jewelry she was wearing, the Brazilian native realized that her handmade bobbles and bangles might be marketable.
Pellissari, a Marion resident, said, “I always designed my own jewelry for myself and my friends. I designed something I couldn’t find on the market.”
After returning from that Paris trip, Pellissari launched her self-named brand.
Three years later, she has her own atelier in Marion and her designs are sold on four continents.
Pellissari first came to the U.S. while still an architecture student in Brazil. Learning English as she traveled across the country, Pellissari eventually decided to make America her home and moved to Newport. After marrying her husband, Dr. Gus Dehni, she moved to Marion.
Pellissari’s jewelry business began out of her home with a handmade collection of necklaces. From there, she moved to her own space on Front Street and developed a full line of accessories with earrings, rings, bracelets, leather cuffs and belts and handbags.
Pelissari said her designs reflect her love of nature and travel as well as her Brazilian upbringing.
“Having a very vibrant and colorful childhood back in Brazil, I think that’s why a lot of my collection are standout pieces,” she said.
The designer said the philosophy for her products is “organic and natural but still sophisticated,” and features combinations of different textures using Brazilian gems, wood, leather and metal as well as exotic skins such as ostrich and python.
Making eco-friendly, socially responsible products is also important to Pellissari.
“All the dyes are derived from plants. There are no chemicals involved in the process of tanning the leather,” she said.
Incorporating tilapia skin (yes, the fish) into her designs is a recent addition to her collection. The suede-like skins come from a fishing village in Brazil.
“This is a way to keep their wives employed,” Pellissari said, of the fishermen. “The wives take care of all the curing and developing the dye. [It’s] very good quality and something different in the market.”
Her designs have been well received. Pellissari’s accessories have graced the pages of InStyle, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. One of her pieces was also chosen for Julie Chen’s top ten Christmas list on CBS’s “The Talk."
“In three years we were able to achieve great things for a short period of time considering it’s fashion,” Pellissari said. “The fashion market is so competitive and such a cutthroat market.”
Going forward, Pellissari wants to continue developing her collections and eventually hopes to branch out to interior design products and furniture design.
Pellissari said she expects she will continue to find inspiration everywhere – even in her sleep.
“I’m always thinking. Sometimes I have a dream so I have to wake up and make a sketch.”
Pellissari’s work is available online at www.annapellissari.com.