A Little Time and a Keyboard: Meet Alessa Gurrola Jewelry Designer and Entrepreneur Behind Raw Amor

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Meet Alessa Gurrola Jewelry Designer and Entrepreneur Behind Raw Amor

 Meet Alessa Gurrola, the Chicago Area Jewelry Designer and Entrepreneur Behind Raw Amor

Meet Alessa Gurrola, the Chicago Area Jewelry Designer and Entrepreneur Behind Raw Amor

Wandering a local mixed art event featuring Chicago area musical talent and artists, I discovered the delicate yet bold, gentle yet striking natural stone jewelry creations of jewelry artist Alessa Gurrola. I am a big fan of jewelry featuring a beautiful range of minerals. So, I immediately became enamored with Alessa's art. Recently, I reached out to Alessa to learn a little more about her art and what is new for her in 2021. Take a little time to learn about a fantastic local entrepreneur and creator you should know:


Jewelry Artist Alessa Gurrola and her sons.
Jewelry Artist Alessa Gurrola and her sons.

What inspired you to work with natural stones?

I love the beauty of natural stones and how no two are ever the same. So every time I make a piece, it's one of a kind! Working with raw and natural stones has also made me appreciate the beauty of nature even more. When you take a moment to stop and really see a stone, you'll be amazed by the colors, patterns and textures. It makes you open your eyes to how wonderful Mother Nature is!

Gorgeous Aquamarine Bars Necklace from Raw Amor. Image credit Raw Amor.
Gorgeous Aquamarine Bars Necklace from Raw Amor. Image credit Raw Amor.

Do you have a particular mineral that speaks to you above others?

Aquamarine has always been one of my favorites probably because it's my birthstone so, it is one of the first stones I became familiar with. I love the calming shades of blue that aquamarine has and how it can look stunning as both a raw piece or a cut and polished semi-precious stone. It's such a diverse stone and I think however it is used, it is gorgeous! I also fell in love with watermelon tourmaline a few years ago when I discovered it was my son's birthstone. I had never seen or heard of tourmaline before and then it quickly became of my top used stones. It is actually one that sells the most for me as well. Watermelon tourmaline is also truly amazing with its shades of pink and green -- and sometimes blue. No two ever have the same pattern which makes it fun to create the same necklace over and over with no two ever being identical.

How did Raw Amor begin?

Raw Amor began shortly after my oldest son was born 5 years ago. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and was fascinated with the idea of making jewelry, so I decided to take a metalsmithing class for some "me" time once a week. From there, I fell in love with stones and experimenting with different techniques and styles and finding what spoke to me the most. I was having so much fun with it and didn't want to stop making but also was accumulating a lot of pieces I didn't know what to do with, so my business slowly started from there. I decided to try opening an Etsy shop to see if anyone would be interested in my pieces and slowly started to get into markets to sell my inventory. I have been learning and growing ever since then!

A natural stone rainbow adds delicate beauty. Image credit Raw Amor.
A natural stone rainbow adds delicate beauty. Image credit Raw Amor.

What inspired the name Raw Amor?

Making jewelry was the easy part and coming up with a name for my brand was the hard part! I wanted to choose a name that represented what my journey was and what my purpose was for my business. After my son was born, I wanted to explore leaving my corporate career to stay home with him and at the same time, I was falling in love with jewelry making. So, I was trying to find a way to have the best of both worlds. The name Raw Amor came to be because I wanted it to represent the raw and real unconditional love I feel for my kids that made me take this leap of faith to leave my job and its security to be home with them. I also wanted it to represent my love of raw and natural stones that I use in my pieces so the name Raw Amor came to life from there.

How do you choose the minerals for your pieces?

I would love to say I have a process but I just buy anything that speaks to me. I spend a lot of time browsing different stone vendors on Etsy and my cart is usually maxed out with stones I love and want to buy! I'm always trying to find similar stones for some of my best selling pieces like my aquamarine and watermelon tourmaline necklaces but I also love to find new stones and try different designs. When I buy stones I love, it truly makes my heart full when a customer is drawn to it as well. Some necklaces might take awhile to sell but I believe every stone eventually finds the person who was meant to wear it :)

Raw Amor's cascading Herkimer Diamond Earrings dazzle! Image credit Raw Amor.
Raw Amor's cascading Herkimer Diamond Earrings dazzle! Image credit Raw Amor.


Last year, you founded Revive Handmade Markets with fellow creator and entrepreneur Christina Klamer. What has been most interesting about this journey?

We founded Revive Handmade Markets to give makers a place to sell in a time when everything was closed down and opportunities were hard to come by, so I 'd say the most interesting thing was how much support we had. It was definitely a challenge to find places to host us but we were so blessed to find Station 34 and Coco & Blu who were willing to open their doors for us to help out their fellow small businesses. I was amazed by not only how many vendors wanted to participate but how many shoppers came out and supported everyone. We didn't know what to expect given the current climate but everyone amazed us and we are so grateful for their support!

What is new for Raw Amor and Revive Handmade Markets in 2021?

It's been a busy start to 2021 for Raw Amor! After taking a couple of weeks off to enjoy the holidays with my family and come down from the high of the holiday market season, I'm moving full speed ahead getting stocked in new stores! I'm now selling my pieces at River Street Shoppes in East Dundee and will be selling at the Rustic Fox in North Aurora starting in February. I also have a line of Chakra pieces that are available at Verde Holistic Wellness Studio in the Pilsen Neighborhood, some items in Khepri Cafe in Albany Park and have had pieces featured in Elle Belle Boxes! I am also hoping to work on developing a website this year and will continue to participate in local markets around town where I love getting out and talking to customers and meeting new people and other vendors!

A rainbow cascade for the ears with lovely waterfall tourmaline earrings. Image credit Raw Amor.
A rainbow cascade for the ears with lovely waterfall tourmaline earrings.
Image credit Raw Amor.

As far as designs, you'll continue to see a lot of the old favorites but I'm also working on some new styles as well! My goal this year is to use every stone in my arsenal so you may see more substantial pieces like me new ombre waterfall tourmaline earrings and my herkimer diamond earrings.

Revive Handmade Markets will also continue strong in 2021 and we're planning quarterly markets including some larger scale Spring, Summer and Fall outdoor markets and more holiday markets as well! Stay tuned for more details and dates as we're planning those now!

Do you have a favorite spot for recharging?

My parents have a home in northern Wisconsin and I spend a lot of time there in the summer with my family. That's always been my happy place where I go to relax and enjoy nature and recharge. I love spending time on the water and in the woods, so anytime I can get out into nature helps me feel at peace.

Thank you so much to Alessa Gurrola for sharing some more of the inspiration and spark behind Raw Amor and Revive Handmade Markets! We look forward to seeing what you do in 2021!

** Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.


Meet Alessa Gurrola Jewelry Designer and Entrepreneur Behind Raw Amor


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