This fall we brought in a beautiful collection of jewelry by LA-based designer Joseph Brooks. Using ancient crystals that are hand knotted on cord or silver chain, these pieces manage to be both timeless and fresh. The natural hues and textures of the stones are the perfect complement to our luxe velvets, silks, and knits. Here, Joseph explains how he crafts, chooses and creates our new favorite jewelry.

JW: We’re so happy to feature your beautiful jewelry, tell us about the pieces you created for Johnny Was?

JB: My favorite piece that I designed for Johnny Was is the mala bead necklace, which features 108 stone beads and this hand-knotted loop is traditionally used in meditation and prayer. Since all stones have healing properties I combine them in different combinations depending on how they amplify each other and also how they look together. This one is crafted to up your confidence, it’s a mix of green garnet, pyrite, citrine, and quartz crystal. I also did single stone bracelets to match.

JW: You also did these single crystal necklaces, what kind of stone is that?


JB: Those are stunning. They are different crystal quartz stones that I hand pick, and all are one-of-a-kind—I go through hundreds of stones to find the ones I like. Some have different inclusions, which is when another mineral has grown inside. I just put these crystal necklaces on a simple chain since they are such a statement piece.

JW: When did your love of stones and crystals begin?

JB: I collected rocks my whole life, the Museum of Natural History was my home away from home growing up and I have rocks in my home studio from when I was 8 or 9 years old. I went to art school and I even have a teaching credential in silversmithing, but I’ve always loved rocks, they just make me happy.


JW: Where do you find all the different stones?

JB: I spent a lot of my time traveling but most stones I use come from Brazil, Madagascar, India, and Pakistan, mostly because of the age of the geology. I had a crazy experience last year when I was in Brazil; we were driving on this dirt road and I looked out the car window and the whole side of the road was glittering purple. I jump out of the car and it’s all amethyst, I filled my pockets, it was everywhere! I asked my guide what the place was called, and he said Ametista. Having said that, I’ve also found rose quartz in a mine in Maine, so they’re all over if you just look. My next trip is Colombia for emeralds.

JW: Different stones have different powers; how does someone pick the right one for them?

JB: Well, some people are more sensitive to the energy of the stones than others and if you’re just looking to pick out a stone you like, I firmly believe you’ll pick out the right one for you.