By Michal Goldfein
The most recent entrepreneur and business owner I was privileged to interview shows that what you busy yourself with every day can have a positive impact on your life and the lives of others. Aurelie Berdugo, owner of NOA Jewelry, is down-to-earth, and her caring nature came across immediately. The NOA Jewelry collection is gorgeous, with classic pieces that have unique twists, but even more so, they tell a story of love and commitment to consumers and the world at large. Aurelie, the owner of NOA Jewelry, has graciously given me a unique discount code for all my readers to use — thefashiondetour15 — which expires February 7. If you are looking for unique gifts or even something to treat yourself, visit noajewelry.shop. Read on for great insight into the mastermind behind it all.
Michal Goldfein: What inspired you to start your jewelry line, NOA Jewelry?
Aurelie Berdugo: I always had a love for fashion. Initially, deep down, I was apprehensive about starting in the fashion industry because of the vanity and materialism that is associated with it, but I always loved it. I’m actually a nurse and after I graduated nursing school, I had just given birth to my daughter and I realized that I didn’t want to leave my daughter home during my long shift hours. I realized that I wanted to do something from home, and jewelry was something I was very passionate about.
MG: Can you tell me a little more about your brand?
AB: NOA is a high-fashion jewelry line. The idea behind it was that not everyone can afford the big chunky diamonds or heavy pieces of gold, but I never wanted to settle for a mediocre piece of jewelry or something of low quality, like something that was going to break or leave a greenish stain on your skin. I wanted an accessible price point, but something that was quality and real gold. So I decided to design a jewelry line that was gold filled, not gold plated. Much more gold is involved so our jewelry is good quality and it does not tarnish.
MG: What is the difference between gold filled and 14kt gold?
AB: Solid gold means the whole entire material is pure gold. Gold plated means to just use a piece of metal and then plate it with gold. Gold filled is kind of the in between where you plate it many times and it results in a big piece of gold on top of the jewelry. You can have a lot of the beauty and quality of the gold without spending a fortune.
MG: Ten percent of your profits go to Chai Lifeline, an organization that helps cancer patients and their families. What inspired you to do this?
AB: I think that in nursing school what touched me the most was the cancer patients. I actually think that one of the reasons that I’m not a nurse anymore is because I got so emotionally attached I couldn’t just go through the day, come home, and be a mom. My patients had such an impact on me, it was hard for me on an emotional level. I just wanted to help them, and even if I’m not a nurse, I could help them from afar.
MG: On top of your 10% donation, for every solid gold piece of jewelry that is sold, NOA gives a cancer patient a piece of beautiful jewelry to uplift their spirit and bring light and beauty to their world. Have you always seen jewelry as a way to bring joy and help make others beautiful?
AB: I feel like jewelry holds a special place in a woman’s heart, even in a man’s heart. When you give someone a piece of jewelry, it makes them feel beautiful, but even more than that, it makes them feel special. There’s something about jewelry that sparks a cord in every woman’s heart. Being able to help someone feel not only beautiful, but special, is amazing. I was so connected to the cancer patients that it’s just another way for me to continue to show my love for them on a different level.
MG: What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur?
AB: Nothing good in life ever comes easy. You have to work hard to achieve your goals. There are no guidelines to become an entrepreneur; you don’t go to school to become an entrepreneur. All of that I had to learn on my own, especially running an online business. Additionally there are so many things that are out of your control. For example, there was a point when I did everything right. I designed my jewelry, the samples came back perfect, the jewelry was ready, and I took the pictures of them. I had to learn how to do the white background pictures, the social media, and the packaging, but thankfully I was at the point when everything was ready. It was here that I struggled, and I was asking myself, now what? When are the sales going to come in? Everything was perfect, I did everything in my power, but how am I actually going to sell something and see numbers coming in?
I had a gap of about two weeks with zero sales, and I remember thinking of quitting for a good ten seconds because I was worried, and had done all I could do. Until finally, due to my collaboration with Frumee Taubenfeld, I saw results. She posted my earrings and I remember that night, casually talking to my mother-in-law, my phone made a funny noise, and I realized it was my first sale ever. I was soooo happy. Then two minutes later another one, then another one, and that night I probably got ten sales, which felt amazing! And I have never looked back. I knew people love my jewelry and loved my taste; they just simply needed to know about it.
That became my focus, I bombarded Instagram, and now my company is not only known in the Jewish fashion space but has extended beyond the Jewish world. We were featured on a lot of celebrities, notably Cardi B and Becky G, and we’ve had a lot of media coverage as well, like being featured in Us Weekly and Runway magazine. Another challenge for me was to understand what pieces will sell as opposed to things that are absolutely gorgeous, but won’t sell that much. I had to learn to focus my attention to the actual basics of jewelry, like your everyday hoop, as opposed to that extraordinary breathtaking earring that won’t sell that much.
MG: What advice would you give someone about starting a career in jewelry design?
AB: I would say find a niche and stick to it, and its O.K. if your jewelry is not for everyone. That may mean not pleasing absolutely everyone. For example, I know that I come from a community that is classy and minimalistic and some of my closest friends might not understand or share my style. But that’s ok because so many other people are in my niche of design and they’re obsessed with it. So stick to your niche, and have those people love your jewelry to the fullest.
MG: Where do you gain inspiration?
AB: I first look at the overall trends, of Gucci, Lanvin, and Chanel, and I ask myself how I can make it an everyday design that is accessible and wearable. If I’m being honest, even more than that, I take a look at my jewelry wardrobe and ask myself what pieces I don’t have that I want. Last collection, I wanted an emerald eternity ring for myself, but I have a hard time shopping at another store for jewelry when I can produce it myself and I should be representing my brand. Or I was missing some stacking rings and I decided to design them. So that is how many styles in my collection are born.
MG: How would you describe your own personal style?
AB: I love dressing down very glam pieces. Like for example, I would put a fancy skirt with a rock ‘n’ roll t-shirt. I love a mix of classy and edgy.
I am a modest dresser and I definitely keep this in mind. I love jewelry on the skin and that is why you will rarely see a very long necklace in my collection. Most of my necklaces are designed for short layering.
MG: I love your solid gold personalized ring with Swarovski stones. Why is customizable fashion so important?
AB: Jewelry in itself is so special and if you can customize it, it becomes a piece of your story that you get to bring along with you everywhere you go. It marks milestones; you can put birthdates, marriage dates, your children’s names, your spouse’s name, or a mantra that you have. It is so special because there is this whole sentimental aspect to it.
MG: I am a huge earrings girl, and always succumb to a pair of statement earrings. What are your favorites from your collection?
AB: I hate this question because it’s like asking a mom who her favorite child is. For me, it depends on my mood or the occasion but I find myself wearing the Bella hoops a lot because it’s not your regular basic hoop. They have a twisted design that makes them unique and easy to wear, and they come in two sizes. I also adore the Meghan hoops with yellow cubic zirconia, which are simultaneously edgy and chic. They are a hoop with a black frame, and they come with princess cut stones in yellow, pink, or black. I think they are so versatile, but they also appeal to my personal style, which is a little bit edgy.
MG: How would you classify the aesthetic of NOA Jewelry?
AB: I focus on basics, on pieces that you can wear every day, from day to night. You can wear them with a casual look and with a dressy outfit, because of their versatility. I also have edgier pieces but they are still versatile.
MG: I love your gold classic hoops, like the Selena hoop! What pieces from your collection do you recommend for the girl who is more simplistic in style but still wants a dose of glamour in her everyday life?
AB: The Liana hoops, without a doubt, they are so subtle and so minimalistic but yet so incredibly feminine and have so much personality to them.
MG: Your ear crawlers are absolutely gorgeous as well! You have so many options in terms of earrings. I don’t usually wear necklaces, because sometimes I’m at a loss for how to pair them with different necklines. What types of necklaces do you suggest for different necklines?
AB: When I design my necklaces, I keep the modest dressers in mind. The longest length I sell is 18 inches. I personally love jewelry on the skin, so I love the look of layering a 14 inches, with a 16 inches and an 18 inches. In fashion, every rule is meant to be broken. If you are a tall girl, you can carry anything. If you are a petite girl, I would suggest to stay with dainty pieces, not chunky pieces.
MG: I’m going to try to embrace necklaces more! Overall, do you have a “less is more” attitude towards jewelry or is it the opposite for you?
AB: For me, I take the more is more approach, I definitely appreciate the simple aesthetic on other people but if I’m being honest I love mixing and matching and piling things on.
MG: When pairing your outfits with your jewelry, do you try to match your jewelry to your outfits?
AB: I’m not your regular girl, I tend to choose my jewelry before my outfits. Since my jewelry is so versatile, I feel like you can pair the jewelry with anything in your closet.
MG: I like playing with the idea of hard and soft and could see pairing the Trio drop links with a lace dress for a play on a dark romantic look. Are there other unique ways to pair the Trio drops links with clothing?
AB: Yes what’s great about the Trio drop links is that they come with three links. There’s a hoop that comes with it, so you can put a link inside a hoop if you want a shorter drop. If you are in the mood of a shorter drop you can do two links, or use all three for a more dramatic look. You can even remove all the links and you are left with an everyday hoop.
I could also see it with a midi jean skirt and a casual graphic T-shirt. The most beautiful part of our pieces is the concept that they are so versatile, they go from day to night, fancy to casual, so the possibilities are endless. I can wear the Trio link drops with a lace dress or I can wear it with a jean midi skirt and a casual busy t-shirt.
MG: Are you designing a new collection?
AB: I actually am. I’m working on something that I thought of when I first opened my company. For what I have in mind, I would like for people to see NOA, and see an emblem in their minds. I want the emblem to be part of the jewelry but in a subtle way.
MG: Why did you name your jewelry line NOA?
AB: It’s named after my 18 month old daughter whom I love and adore.
MG: What are your goals for the future of your brand?
AB: My goal is to focus on getting into the big stores, like Bloomingdales, Saks, and others. My goal is to have many people seeking out my designs so that we can be taken seriously by these big stores. Thankfully, we have had many celebrities, along with bloggers, wear our designs. We have also had a lot of media coverage as well.
MG: It’s so impressive that you started less than a year ago, and look where you are today. I’m excited for the future of your brand. Your jewelry is stunning, and since the holidays are coming up, they are perfect for Chanukah gifts, holidays presents, and really for any occasion!
Michal Goldfein is a fashion influencer and content creator on Instagram and posts daily modest fashion inspiration @TheFashionDetour. You can listen to her modest fashion podcast on Apple podcast and on Jtriberadio.com. Email your fashion questions to Michal at