Interview with La Isla Jewelry

Exotic, Tropical Jewelry for Every Occassion

La Isla Jewelry

A great piece of statement jewelry can make or break an outfit. In any social or professional setting, it's important to have a gorgeous, one–of–a–kind piece of jewelry to make your personality pop and your outfit complete. La Isla Jewelry, an online jewelry company and member of the Del Mar Art Center, creates hand–made, sea–inspired statement pieces perfect for every occasion. Run by Helen Schultes and her husband Jay Shrake, La Isla Jewelry offers unique and fashionable jewelry options perfect for any situation! We spoke with owner Helen Schultes about La Isla Jewelry, her creative passion and where her inspiration comes from.


Tell me about La Isla Jewelry.

La Isla Jewelry is a contemporary line of jewelry initially introduced as a tropical and exotic collection. Today, La Isla Jewelry has evolved into so much more, offering an elegant luxury line appropriate for the executive, high–powered woman in a professional setting.  

When and how did it begin?

I’ve been designing jewelry since 2007. I’ve always loved fashion and making jewelry had always intrigued me. My husband joined in, bringing his Marine Biology background with an extensive knowledge of shells and natural minerals, and voila! La Isla Jewelry was launched! People often ask where our business name came from. We discovered the La Isla Shopping Mall while on travel in Cancun and thought the name would be awesome for our tropical line.

Why did you start making your own jewelry?

I’m a software engineer by day, and I was looking for a creative outlet. Making jewelry sounded like fun, and I liked the idea of creating one–of–a–kind statement jewelry pieces for myself.

What kind of materials do you work with?

I work primarily with sterling silver and gold, incorporating a variety of materials including high–grade semi–precious gemstones, pearls and coral. I like to work with various shells, such as mother of pearl, abalone and conch shells. Some designs incorporate Venetian glass and ceramics.

You sell necklaces, bracelets and earrings, and your website proudly states that you handmake all of your jewelry. What inspires your designs?

I’m clearly inspired by ocean life and tropical Islands. I find the beauty of the natural stones to be inspiring, as well.

Do you make custom orders?

From time to time I’m asked to design a custom jewelry item. If anyone is interested, they can reach me using the contact form on our website or call me directly at the La Isla Jewelry business number listed on the site.

Iridescent Pink Pearl Lei; La Isla JewelryLa Isla Lei San Diego
Left: Iridescent Pink Pearl Lei
Right: La Isla Lei

Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve ever designed? 

My most favorite item is the “La Isla Lei” designed back in 2009. It was made from wild and spikey mother of pearl shells with thin coral strands interwoven, and it included abalone and various other seashells. It was a very fun, playful piece that was a big hit for us at the Serendipity boutique in Maui. We continue to make and sell variations of our lei necklace today with beautiful statement pearls.

Where can your designs be found?

Along with selling online, I’d like to mention our jewelry can be found in several different locations in San Diego. I’m an artist at the Del Mar Art Center in the Del Mar Plaza. La Isla Jewelry is also featured at the Azzurra Capri Boutique in both Little Italy and La Jolla. I sell at a few selected shows around town, and we are adding new shows and shops regularly. We encourage anyone interested to sign up for our newsletter to keep posted on our upcoming events. And of course, follow us on Instagram @laislajewelry and on Facebook to view the latest creations!