Five Questions for… Ashley Dodgen-McCormick

A world traveler, mother and entrepreneur, Ashley Dodgen-McCormick is used to wearing many hats since she founded chic jewelry company ASHA while still in college. Here, Indagare spoke to the sophisticated bon vivant about her favorite destinations as well as her travels to her family’s native Cuba.

Which destinations have been your most inspiring? Which pieces from your collection have come from these travels? Havana, Marrakech and Paris are at the top of my list. Each city has a unique identity and all have inspired collections that are infused with classicism and a touch of the exotic. The raw beauty, dilapidation and complexity of Cuba is overwhelming, and I found the architecture and vibrant colors and smells of Marrakech intoxicating. But Paris is where my journey as a jeweler began, and living there was what inspired me to found ASHA.

Related: Indagare's Paris Shopping Guide

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"] Courtesy Kelly Stuart[/caption]

Where are you dreaming of going next? I'm dreaming of going to Lake Como. The different aesthetics and fashion in Italy have been hugely inspirational to my design process.

What do you never travel without? I bring my daughter Annabel with me as much as is possible! It is important to me that she sees the world and is exposed to different cultures and languages.

What is your most treasured possession from abroad? A bespoke diamond ring that I designed with an artisan off of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. It has a light blue chalcedony intaglio (lion-headed serpent) circled with brilliant diamonds in a satin finish; every time I look at it reminds me of the beauty of Florence.

Related: Five Questions for... Madeline Weinrib

In all your travels, what would you consider your most transformative travel moment?

My family left Cuba shortly after the revolution in 1959, so my recent visit there was incredibly eye opening. I experienced a variety of emotions. On the one hand, I was happy to be connected to my roots in Cuba, an island I had heard so much about since childhood. Hearing the music in the streets, tasting the food and communicating with the local people was invigorating. Creatively, I was inspired by the colors of the buildings, the art and the music. However, it was shocking and saddening to see the vestiges of Communism and the current state of disrepair in the city. I felt immensely grateful that my ancestors had the courage to leave their home to create a free life for my family.

Related: Havana Destination Report

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