Jewelry designer Vera Balyura is not your average girl. Her inspiringly quirky jewelry line VeraMeat is loved by the celebrity cool crowd, like Alexa Chung and Clemence Poesy. She describes her personal style as being "pangolin watching a golden cat chase bats at night." And, she's so inspired by her surroundings that she makes jewelry so that she can carry it around with her. Her unique pieces are wildly creative--from the "Dino Eating Fried Chicken Ring" to the "Zombie Queen" necklace, we can't get enough of VeraMeat.
Just by looking at all of your unique pieces, we can tell that there’s a story behind every piece you create. Take us through the creative process, from start to finish.
Often times I'll be researching artists like Oliver Sachs or Tim Burton then be inspired to carve out a pretty scissor hand or spine necklace to wear. Or I'll be walking my dog Fred and be inspired to immortalize her on my finger forever.
How have your life experiences affected your jewelry making?
I've always loved seeing sculpture work and fine art, but wanted to carry around that feeling of seeing something so inspiring with me. So, I try to do that through jewelry for other people and myself.
How would you describe your personal style?
Pangolin watching a golden cat chase bats at night!
What is the most interesting (or peculiar) concept for a piece that you’ve thought of?
I like that question… maybe the Hip Shark Eating A Headless Zombie Tina Turner while she hits it over the head with a bone. The arm that's missing my two headed trex necklace is eating it.
We know of a few celebrities who love your pieces. Have you ever been surprised to find out who is a fan of your work? Well, Alexa Chung, Nora Zehetner, and Tennessee from The Like stopped into my East Willage boutique with Clemence Poesy. They said they were already fans, bought some VeraMeat and didn't ask for a celebrity discount which I thought was amazing as they where so down to earth.
Who are some of your personal favorite jewelry designers? Since I started my company as a fun hobby, I haven't spent time with many. Mostly I get inspired by artists like Matt Furie, Allyson Mellberg, Sto, Amber Jean Young and Kelie Bowman. Bands like St. Vincent, TV on the Radio, who have actually come by my east village boutique! Amber has an art show up here right now. So, I've had the privilege of meeting them after loving their work for so long.
What is the most extreme thing you’ve ever done?
I've snowboarded a lot of black diamond grade mountains that are pure ice. I've lived in New York City for over 10 years and moved here at 14 years old, which I'd say is extreme!
What’s your favorite late-night bite?
Hmm, I love this bar restaurant called Vera's in the east village. They have a salmon & arugula salad plus steak with kale I love!
Are you a sweet or savory gal? If sweet, what’s your dessert of choice?
I love ice cream and any meat made gluten free plus free range. Though green tea, lavender, rose & any cool strange flavored dish catches my eye.
Where are your favorite places to hang out in NY and/or LA?
I love the Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA & the Neue Gallery in NY. And of course, 9th St., where my shop is in the East Village.
If I weren’t a jewelry designer, I would be a __________.
315 East 9th Street
Manhattan, NY 10003