Imagination and connection take centre stage in ĀZLEE's refreshingly modern and meaningful creations
ĀZLEE is a combination of designer Baylee Ann Zwart’s middle, last and first names. Based in Los Angeles, every piece is made locally by master craftsmen, with Baylee overseeing the entire process. Even though it wasn’t always in the cards for Baylee to do fine jewellery, she fell in love with the craft while studying the art of jewellery metal working on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Made of 18k gold and platinum and influenced by French Art Deco and Ancient civilisations, ĀZLEE is a refreshingly modern brand creating effortlessly wearable and interesting pieces for the individual who finds meaning and connection in the jewellery they wear.
Baylee Ann Zwart: "This new category of fine jewellery that feels really dynamic, meaningful and relevant, is just so incredible. And I am so grateful that I landed in this time, because it still feels kind of like the beginning of that."
How did you end up in jewellery, because I know that’s not where you started?
It came out of left field for me. I had worked at fashion magazines and I was really interested in photography and I thought that was my path—it was my creative outlet at the time. But I realised at some point that I couldn’t see my future in it. I was really interested in sustainable fashion, so I found an organization in Guatemala that did fair trade accessories with women artisans. They very much had a presence in the fashion space, but at the same time it was non-profit and great work they were doing. During my six months in Guatemala, I happened to end up in a spot with a lot of metalworking. I found a stone and I asked one of the artisans to make me a ring with it, but he asked me if I wanted to make it myself. It hadn’t even occurred to me that it was a possibility, but I decided to go for it. I made that first ring and just fell madly in love with metalworking and the whole process. Being able to wear and enjoy something every single day was just magical to me. I was hooked. I spent every weekend while I was there, shadowing him for eight hours at a time to learn everything I could. That was my intro to it.