Alumni Spotlight

Izaskun Zabala

Izaskun Zabala

Class Of 2009

Where are you from? And how did this shape the person you are today?

I am from the Basque Country, a small region between France and Spain. I grew up in a medieval town surrounded by mountains and a windy sea; no traffic jams, subways or dangerous neighborhoods. As kids, we played freely in the streets; as teenagers, we mixed the coming of age adventures with the beach and woods.

How did you become a jewelry designer?

I always enjoyed creating and fabricating with my hands. At 19, I moved to Dublin, Ireland, and engaged in Fine Arts study. I studied a variety of mediums: painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, jewelry. It was in this last one that I found my calling.

Why FIT? What did you study? Degree? 

At 23, I felt in love with an American man and moved to new York. We did not know anybody in the city. I researched my possibilities to obtain a jewelry degree in a college with reasonable tuition fee and applied to FIT.

In 2007, I graduated from an Associate's degree in Jewelry (Studio Option) Summa Cum Laude, recipient of the Elsa Peretti/Tiffany scholarship for excellence in Jewelry design.

In 2009, I obtained a Bachelor's degree in Business with concentration in the Accessory Industry from Empire State College with cross registration of Accessory Bachelor's degree @ FIT.

What do you find sparks your creativity? Inspiration?

Everything, from what I am exposed to daily by living in NYC (art, people, architecture, books) to   my own philosophy of Life, but, the fact that jewelry is one of the most ancient art forms and that jewels can be inherited through generations, are my main inspiration.

What are three things you cant live without?

My pliers, a good book and tweezers.  

When you're not designing...

I am studying Palmistry.  

Future projects you are working on?

A Fragrance Oil launching soon!!  

Favorite designer?

Riccardo Tisci @ Givenchy

What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Take business cards of every place/store you   go jewelry related and write a note on the back .

If you could translate your style into a person or place, what would it be? 

Sunset in Istanbul with the crescent moon...

Izaskun Zabala Jewelry is currenlty seeking interns. Please email for more details. 

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