For jeweler and contemporary artist Georgina Treviño, who was born in San Diego but raised in Tijuana until the age of 14, being bicultural was once a source of confusion. “You feel like you’re not from there or from here,” she tells Business Traveler. Struggling to find her artistic identity, she took a yearlong leave of absence from college, where she studied painting, jewelry and metalsmithing, to move to Mexico City with family and embed herself in the local art scene. If she hadn’t gone, she says, she “would’ve been another Georgina.” Much of Treviño’s work is a dialogue between worlds: between contemporary and fashion jewelry, between present and Y2K-era references, between the cities she has called home.
This month, Treviño’s art is on display in “La Frontera,” a joint exhibition in Juárez and El Paso comprised of “small metalwork and contemporary jewelry that grapples with the experiences and physicality of the U.S.-Mexico border.” Her contribution: 10-4 Compa!, two functional flip phones encased in hand-carved sterling silver pierced with the chains, charms and earrings that adorn much of her work. Visitors to either location are encouraged to pick up the phone to text or call its mate, or use their own device to share their thoughts about the much-discussed (and much misunderstood) U.S.-Mexico border region. (She will also present her first solo show this fall at the Embajada gallery in San Juan, Puerto Rico.)
These days, Treviño is effusive about living in San Diego. She can be found sifting for materials among the city’s flea markets on most weekends, and the location gives her easy access to supplies and client needs on both sides of the border.
Still, a move to Los Angeles may be calling soon—while it’s easy to drive there, she says, “it is getting a little tiring.” A relocation may be necessary due to the A-list attention she’s attracting, with Bad Bunny, Rosalía and Karol G among the growing list of global stars who have worn her pieces.
Chief among these is Beyoncé, who wore Treviño’s name-plate earrings bearing the words “Ms. Honey” (a reference to her song “Pure/Honey”) in a teaser trailer for her monumental Renaissance album. Treviño created four pieces for the superstar, including three sets of name-plate earrings and a bamboo hoop necklace. The singer’s team provided Treviño with a mood board, some stylistic parameters and the album tracklist. Everything else, as is par for the course for Beyoncé projects, was shrouded in mystery. “I even forgot about it,” she recalls of the request, which came more than a year before the album was released.
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Bad Bunny has worn her pieces on multiple occasions, the most prominent being a black leather choker draped with flowing, bejeweled neck-laces in the music video for “Yo Perreo Sola,” in which the Puerto Rican rapper appears in drag, dressed head-to-toe in red latex. The video has more than 600 million views on YouTube.
Treviño also sometimes inserts herself into contemporary cultural conversations, as she did when an unexpected insect showed up on the 2023 Met Gala carpet, becoming a viral meme sensation. “The next day I woke up and I was like, Oh, I’m just gonna go and buy a cockroach that moves and bedazzle it.” The result: Met Cucaracha, a toy roach covered in jewels and studs, an image of which Treviño sells on printed T-shirts.
“There’s definitely a lot of humor in my work,” she says. To wit: a Warholian approach to accessorizing. She once found a discarded Heinz soup can outside her studio and added a studded chain strap, transforming it into a clutch purse that was later worn by Brazilian singer Luísa Sonza.
“I see everything as jewelry,” she says. Where others might find trash, Treviño sees a piece begging to be upcycled. “How can I beautify it and give it another life?”
She considers her statement pieces to be a catalyst for communication. People on the street often stop her to comment on what she’s wearing, and she relishes the connection. She experienced one such interaction the last time she was in New York City, with a woman who was waiting for an Uber. They ended up hitting it off and going for drinks. “Sometimes I think, If I wasn’t wearing any of this, would I have met these people?”
As her creations and name recognition expand, she’s aiming to deepen these connections. “It is bigger than just product,” she says of her artistic aspirations. She wants to mentor jewelry artists, and she has been teaching workshops, including a four-day course with Centro, a Mexico City design school. She hopes to create and foster a locale where jewelry artists can gather, a mix of a library, workshop and residency space.
“I’m still trying to figure it out, but I would love to be part of that,” Treviño says. “How can this be a community? I could be this bridge between Mexico and the U.S.”