Business & Development

Precious Stones

Local jewelry maker channels the islands with her simplistic design.

The first thing that stands out about a piece of ISA NOY jewelry is its simplicity. Its clean lines and smooth texture are calming to the eye in a very pleasing way. And that’s the feeling creator Isabel Herrero wanted to embrace when she left her 9-to-5 job to start ISA NOY (a combination of her first name and her mother’s maiden name) two years ago.

“I call it ease,” says Herrero. “There is a feeling of relaxation and freedom that I want to portray—from the way I make pieces in my studio to the way we arrange the collection and set up photo shoots.”

Herrero, who was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, grew up watching her family collect one-of-a-kind jewelry from all around the world. “My family always cherished the history that jewelry brings,” she says. “It’s not about where it’s from but about what meaning it carries.”

As a girl, Herrero took classes in jewelry making, her hobby influenced by the prevalent hand-crafted culture of her homeland. After studying architecture at the University of Miami, Herrero worked at an architecture firm in Miami before meeting her life partner, which brought her to Baltimore. But it was her nostalgia for Puerto Rico that brought her back to jewelry making.

“Baltimore kind of drew this out of me. It’s an inspiring city full of young creatives and unique spaces,” says Herrero, who handcrafts every piece of jewelry herself and operates an e-commerce site out of her Clipper Mill studio. The website launched in 2017.

ISA NOY’s first line—“Rocks”—was inspired by Herrero’s childhood collection of rocks and the small treasures she would find in Puerto Rico while walking the beach. “Rocks are a symbol of grounding yourself,” says Herrero. “For me, it is a reminder to spend more time with yourself and to recharge. I think it’s kind of beautiful to share that message with people.”

Each rock used in ISA NOY’s collection is made to order, so not one is the same, and they are made with fine silver and gold. “The material is the most important to me, “she says. “No matter how simple an item is, if the materials used are high quality, it will stand out.”

Herrero’s future plans include releasing her “Rocks” collection in gold and debuting surprise holiday pieces. But perhaps her favorite part of the company is that her plans don’t have to be set in stone, so to speak. “With architecture, everything is so strict, everything has a deadline and a course of action,” says Herrero. “But ISA NOY is the space for me where there are no rules.”