Zani Get Your Gun

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Published November 16, 2009

I cant exactly remember how long I’ve known Zani Gugelmann. It was at least 10 years ago, and years later she confided that initially she thought I was mixed up in a crazy crowd. At the time I was sporting a metal tongue ring and as many hard-core chains as I could wear out of the house—but that’s another story…

Since then Zani has come into her own. She’s a classic beauty with style, and she’s deeply rooted in charity. That’s why even though her new line of jewelry, Santo, featuring jewelry in the shape of bullets, might sound menacing, all the pieces are affiliated with charity. Here we discuss the real meaning of the proverbial “silver bullet.”

BERACASA: This line, Santo by Zani, is not your first jewelry endeavor.

GUGELMANN: I was doing a collection called Filigrana, for which I made the type of filigree earrings from Peru, where my mother is from. But it took a lot of time because I had to go back to Peru three times a year. I was dependent upon a lot of people. I started that in 2002, and after six years it’s time to take the next step.

BERACASA: And so the next step was bullets as jewelry?

GUGELMANN: Basically, yes. I went from pretty, fashionable jewelry to conceptual jewelry.  

BERACASA: To “kick your ass” jewelry.

GUGELMANN: From beautiful but plain and flirtatious jewelry to a hardcore bullet. Everyone is drawn to skulls, dog tags—objects that could be considered negative but are positive and glorified.  BERACASA: And it’s iconic.

GUGELMANN: A bullet hadn’t been done, but maybe it’s because a bullet is quite boring.  It’s a piece of metal; that’s all it is. But it’s very controversial, especially with all the wars that are going on. People are searching for the answer, the world’s changing, and it’s not looking bright. So people want good luck charms, and edgy pieces, and they want things personalized. So I decided on a bullet. I didn’t know how to do it without glorifying a bullet. A bullet with gems, which you unscrew and inside there’s another diamond? If you lose it, and there goes thousands of dollars. Or people use it for drugs.

BERACASA: It’s hollow inside, that’s right.

GUGELLMAN: Right. I had lunch with a friend and he said, “Zani, do you know what the definition of a silver bullet is?” And I said, “No.” He said the definition of a silver bullet is a simple answer to a problem that seems complicated. It’s an expression that’s used in the government and in the medical world.

BERACASA: It’s the answer that pierces through all the bullshit.  That’s what silver bullet is.

GUGELMANN: So instead of putting a diamond in it, I put a scroll. And on that scroll, you had to write your answer—what it is that you want. What is it that you want to focus on? It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.  

BERACASA: Right, cool—I like it.

GUGELMAN: I was so lucky because the man I work with, Dimitri, is incredible.

BERACASA: Is he hot? he sounds hot.

GUGELMANN: He’s this big Russian man with a belly so big he can’t see his feet. But he’s an amazing man, and so kind. Dmitri does the molds, he finds the stones, he finds the metal, he gets the chain. He does everything for me.  

BERACASA: Who’s your ideal sort of public figure to wear the necklaces?

GUGELMANN: I think it’s Bono. He’s an iconic person. I would love him to design actually a bullet. He can wear the ones I’ve designed, but he’s a bigger guy, so I would want him to wear a bigger bullet. I would like for different celebrities to design their bullet, and then people can go on the website and buy their specific bullet, and ten percent would go to their charities.

BERACASA: What celebritieswould they be?

GUGELMANN: Madonna, I don’t really know which charity she supports. What is it Madonna supports?

BERACASA: Kabbalah? OK, sorry. But I forgot to ask you Zani, and this is very important. What does Zani write in her bullet?

GUGELMANN: It could be cliché, but I write something very simple. I just write the word “love.” And that reminds me to surround myself with people I love and people who love me. Love always says to treat yourself well, and I think people forget to treat themselves well.