By and  on September 3, 2010

While, to some designers, shopping at a flea market for material sounds like the premise to a bad episode of “Project Runway,” Stefania Pia would beg to differ. Flea market finds are key to the Vogue Italia contributor-cum-jewelry designer’s creations.

From tiny trinkets (antique keys, metal washers, rusty door hinges) to heftier hardware (industrial locks and butcher’s hooks), these knickknacks are the source of Pia’s inspiration. “I really think they have a soul because they open up doors in my imagination,” she says. “When I see them in the market, I already see the necklace in my head.”

Pia paints one side of the antique object a fluorescent color and strings them on a strip of vintage fabric. “The idea came to color only one side so [as] to preserve something of the object because it was memories for somebody else,” she says.

After moving to New York two years ago, the Bassano del Grappa-native began supplementing her Vogue Italia gig by curating Todd diCiurcio and Lola Schnabel exhibitions. It wasn’t long before the quirky necklaces Pia wore out on the town got attention. The business took off in January after diamond merchants Yves Ringler and Paul Gregory decided to invest in it.

The line launches Tuesday with an accompanying art installation at Eva New York featuring collages and textiles created by Pia.

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