An Interview with Allison Cimino, Owner and Designer of RockLove Jewelry, Your New Gaming Obsession

Ever wondered where Destiny’s Ikora got her necklace from? We do too, but luckily for us we can just hit up RockLove Jewelry and ask for a necklace just like hers and maybe a couple of Iron Banner ones as well. RockLove Jewelry specializes in really cool, fashionable jewelry inspired by geek culture so whether it’s an adorable candy Groot necklace or a gorgeous Dishonored ring, RockLove has got you covered. I recently got a chance to chat with RockLove Jewelry’s owner, Allison Cimino, who also handcrafts and designs these wonderful pieces of jewelry and you get to learn a bit about her process and how she channels her geekiness through her handcrafted works.

THE GAME FANATICS : I must say, as a Destiny fan, I’m really digging that Iron Banner necklace. I’ve seen a lot of video game inspired apparel, but RockLove Jewelry is pushing fandom into a fashionable yet subtle direction that is quite stylish. I wouldn’t mind strolling down the street with a Warlock necklace hanging around my neck. How did you get started with RockLove Jewelry? And was it always a mission to blend both video games and entertainment properties with jewelry?

Allison: When I first began RockLove in 2007, I didn’t have an inkling about licensed jewelry… it all evolved and then evolved again over the years. Originally I was creating jewelry for boutiques, inspired by rock n roll, world travel, and history. While vending live events, I would meet other artists and soon began collaborating with bands and authors, crafting limited edition jewelry merchandise for their fans. The proceeds would help fund recording time or book tours. In the beginning, the projects were small and intimate, which allowed me to learn how to produce pieces efficiently and affordably while remitting royalties without the pressure of a big studio. Then the licenses willing to take a chance on RockLove became bigger… starting with Star Trek in 2014 and then BioWare and Bethesda in 2015.

Often when it comes to video game apparel, some fans don’t feel comfortable showing off their fandom in public and that’s partly due to some rather unattractive options out there in that space. How do you approach design and does fashion come first and then the subject or vice versa?

I’ve always been simplistic in my personal fashion, with love for minimal color and menswear.  I prefer longer chains, larger sculpts, and distressed antiqued finishes – which  translates well across any gender and body size.  My goal, when making any piece, is to create a talisman that embodies passion for a particular fandom while remaining sophisticated and comfortable.  When approaching a design, my own no-nonsense style is the compass, so whatever ideas come to mind already have that rugged unisex quality.

How do you decide which game to tackle? Destiny 2 is a fairly recent game but do you also revisit classic titles as well?

It’s tough to decide which games (or movies or tv series) to focus on since there’s constantly new content coming out.  Again it’s mostly directed by my personal interests – anything sci-fi, fantasy, or history that I’m currently watching or playing.  Importantly, I say NO to projects that I don’t feel passionate about… and NO to anything that feels forced or non-conducive to jewelry.

Just a nerdy aside, do you jam to a video game’s soundtrack while you’re creating these pieces? If you do, please indulge our readers.

HA!  No.  I jam to an embarrassing rotation of horror movies, 90’s rom-coms, and classic rock in the background of my studio.  Though lately it’s been a lot of making jewelry while listening to my husband play Battlefield 1.  I hear “We’ve lost objective Butter” in my nightmares.

What was the most difficult piece of jewelry you had to make?

The Mass Effect Mass Relay Necklace was one of my most technically complicated… I had help from a professional machinist to create the spinning gimbals.  That machinist also worked with me on the Stargate Spinner Ring since we had to invent the setting tools themselves in order to capture the inner ring band while not squishing the outer spinning casting. Currently I’ve been working on a Borg Cube which has driven me insane – it’s not even out yet because the mechanism has taken so many reworks.

2017 has been a great year for video games and I imagine you have boundless ideas for new designs, what video games did you really enjoy this year or are still playing?

As RockLove has grown, I don’t have as much time (for gaming, for sleeping, for general sanity), so I’ve tagged in my husband as lead gamer (a sacrifice he has generously accepted).  So while I hand-polish silver, put branding stickers on jewelry boxes, or tape postage onto packages, I watch rather than play.  Arkham Knight, Fallout 4, Destiny 2, Far Cry Primal, Metal Gear Solid V and Battlefield 1 were standout over the past couple years, likely because they are history, sci-fi, and involve me solving riddles or cracking codes (my forte).  I have German Shepherds, so clearly I’m a sucker for anything with a dog or wolf companion. Counting down the days to Star Wars Battlefront II and Far Cry 5.

Which RockLove Jewelry are you wearing right now?

Skyrim Hircine’s Ring (because wolf), Big Skull Catacomb Ring, Twin Peaks Log Ring, and Penny Dreadful Snake Ring.  One wrist is the Vikings Dragon Cuff.  The rest are one-off pieces or antique bangles totaling 32 pieces of jewelry that never come off.  I would make for a terrible assassin.  Currently I wear as many pieces of permanent jewelry to match my age… time to start shopping for item number 33.

 It’s been a pleasure catching up with you Allison! I was very impressed by your booth at this year’s New York Comic Con. Where can our readers keep up with you and RockLove Jewelry?

Thanks for having me!  You can see all currently available jewery at www.rocklove.com (and it will link through to game exclusives on Bungie Store, Bethsoft, BioWare Store, ThinkGeek.com) in addition to following me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rocklovefanpage), Twitter (@rocklovejewelry), and Instagram (@rocklovejewelry).