By Wendy Sy
Updated May 28, 2014 @ 3:53 pm
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She has a heart of gold—and jewelry to match. Designer Natalie Frigo believes in the true beauty of recycled metals and ethically-sourced stones—and uses them to create her cat-inspired line of accessories, by / natalie frigo.

Each piece is handcrafted in Frigo’s N.Y.C.-studio using the ancient practices of metalsmithing and cire perdue (or lost-wax casting). She works closely with a certified green caster and local gem dealers to combine recycled metals (such as 18-karat gold) with handpicked, ethically-sourced gemstones (including diamonds). These materials are delivered from mines that provide a living wage, ensure safe working conditions, and are eco-friendly

With three of her own cats (Vito, Porkchop, and Knievel) serving as her daily muses, Frigo also looks for inspiration through the craftsmanship of ancient Egyptian, Etruscan, and Native American art. “I’m fascinated by the poetic way these cultures illustrate nature and animals in their pieces,” Frigo tells Referencing these venerable artifacts, her timeless gems have won the hearts of celebs, including Jennifer Lawrence.

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Read on for the full scoop behind Frigo’s inspiration for her five fave feline pieces.

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Playing Cats in Vermeil Earrings(Vermeil gold with black diamond accents; $415)“The hoop earrings worn on ancient Egyptian animal sculptures were on my mind when I crafted this piece. I set out to make little cat faces in the stylish resemblance of the sculptures—to me, it looks like they are about to pounce!”

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Playing Cat Cuff(Recycled brass with white sapphires; $295)“I love the idea of a cat wrapped around your wrist. I started with a design that included a tail but it became apparent that what the bracelet needed were two cats. I love the way this cuff feels on the wrist.”

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Lounging Cat Necklace(18-karat gold over recycled brass, oxidized sterling silver chain, black diamonds, white sapphires and hand-cut rock crystal; $595)“My cat, Knievel, sparked my idea for this necklace. She’s a true adventurer—when I saw her climb up a tree, I thought about how a cat hanging from a gemstone would be a fun design.”

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Playing Cat Ring(Oxidized recycled sterling silver with andradite garnets; $340)“This was my first cat design. I was playing with using animal imagery in my jewelry and stopped carving to think about an idea when I saw my cat, Vito, sleeping on my desk. His face was perfectly still and the design was immediately clear: a cat face ring.”

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Playing Cat Hoops and Garnets Earrings(Recycled brass and garnets with sterling silver posts; $190)“These earrings started out as hoops when I was thinking about lion tails. I was aiming to create spiral cat tails—after a few trials with some sketches, I could see the earrings were calling for cat faces as well. A friend of mine calls these “cat mermaids” which sounds like a cool mythological creature.”

Shop the by / natalie frigo cat-inspired pieces ($80-$3600) and other handmade gems (starting at $65) at

Looking for more jewelry inspiration? Check out the latest celebrity trend: snake jewelry!