This Immigrant Is Creating Size and Gender-Inclusive Fine Jewelry
Automic Gold creates rings in sizes 2 to 16 from reclaimed jewelry.
After immigrating to the U.S., AL Sandimirova worked at a gold refinery. The conditions there were poor, and they weren’t being treated well by their boss. “So I kind of had no choice but to start my own business,” Sandimirova told NowThis.
According to Sandimirova, the fine jewelry business — from gold to diamonds — is a male-dominated industry. As a non-binary person, they wanted to create something free of the gender binary and compete with “next level guys,” so they created Automic Gold, a fine jewelry brand that is both size and gender-inclusive.
From 2017 to 2020, Sandimirova had a brick-and-mortar location in New York City, but it closed due to COVID-19. Since moving to online sales, Automic Gold’s business nearly doubled. They’ve found success by going against standard industry practices, namely by ethically sourcing all materials and offering size-inclusive products.
Automic Gold offers rings in sizes from 2 to 16, including half sizes and quarter sizes. “So many customer[s say,] ‘Oh thank you for making dainty, cute feminine designs for huge fingers. I feel so gender euphoric.’”
“Especially when trans folks come in,” Sandimirova continued. “So either it's masculine design in a small size or feminine design in a very large size. It's so gender euphoric ... It's the mission of my company, and we never gonna change it. Regarding the size and how much golden materials we use, from size 2 to size 16, we charge the same for each ring.”
And there are plenty of other ways Automic Gold is going against the grain — from using non-traditional models to non-traditional forms of advertisements.
Sandimirova said they’re thankful they didn’t attend fashion school and they don’t feel pressure to adhere to the industry’s traditional standards. “I would learn [that] if you want a model, you gotta hire skinny white woman, and photoshop her a lot, and put it on the media. But because I didn't go through no fashion college — I had no exposure, really, to American media even much,” they said.
It’s also important to Sandimirova that their business is sustainable, so they make sure to use reclaimed jewelry. “For me, it also was very organic and natural. Since I worked in a refinery, it makes sense for me to buy pre-owned jewelry, and melt them, and reuse them,” they said. “We are located in [NYC’s] Diamond District. More gold sold just in this Diamond District than anywhere else in the world. So it's easy to [remake], recycle, and get already gold from previous use right here on the block rather than go in some other country.”
Sandimirova hopes to expand Automic Gold to physical locations across the U.S. They want to have stores “where the queer couples or people who are bigger size can come in and to have the products for them. I feel like [it’s] specifically difficult for me as [a] non-binary person because when I come into older stores, it's men or women, and I'm like, I don’t want any of that,” they said. “I like to blend and design my own gender non-conforming style where everybody — I feel like even cis people — feel comfortable. They're tired of this binary and conforming in this.”