This is an introduction to the Sixth & Hill Jewelry Blog. A brief breakdown of who we are, our history, and what can be expected throughout the future of this blog.
First off allow me to introduce myself, my name is Mike Nuñez (known by most as "Rif") and I am the head designer and co-owner of The Sixth & Hill Jewelry Company, along with my partner and uncle Amaury Medrano, who is a 35+ year veteran of the jewelry industry.
My background; I made a name for myself throughout the late 1990's and early 2000's as a Hip Hop DJ and Producer, where I was blessed to produce music and tour with artists like Cypress Hill, Dilated Peoples, Tommy Lee, and Guru from Gangstarr, to name a few. Ultimately I drifted from music and began to work as a consultant and manager to some well known Graffiti Artists and Street Artists, and I also worked in film production, producing television commercials and music videos for the last ten years. To put it simple, I've always worked in the field of creative development, and have been blessed to meet and get to know some very amazing and well known people along the way.
I am now the third generation of my family to become a jeweler. My grandfather came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1961, and by 1968 he opened his first jewelry store with his nephew and later went on to become one of the first Latino business owners in Huntington Park California, when he opened his own store "Medrano Jewelers" on Pacific Blvd. If you know the area, you know that it is basically like "Little Tijuana" now, so you can definitely say that he was a pioneer.
Although my grandfather still gets his jewelry hustle on to this day, the torch was passed to his son, my uncle Amaury many years ago. Amaury got his start at 14 years old working a jewelry booth in the 607 building with my mom, right on the corner of 6th Street and Hill Street. From there he's gone on to work just about every job imaginable in the jewelry industry, from managing jewelry stores, to developing jewelry lines, running a prestigious wholesale jewelry company, setting up jewelry factories domestically and overseas, and overseeing component production for high end designer jewelry brands.
(The Foundation; My grandfather Jose Medrano, Me, and my uncle Amaury)
Over the years people would find out that my family was in the jewelry industry and would wind up asking me about making custom pieces or just finding them whatever they might be looking for. I'd usually just pass their info on to Amaury, but I eventually started taking an interest in the process and wound up learning a lot about the industry. I found a new creative voice for myself in creating custom pieces and eventually got the inclination to create a jewelry company with Amaury.
In 2014 we decided to pull all of our resources and experience together in order to create a jewelry brand that we could take pride in and use as a platform to develop and create jewelry that has our personal touch and signature, and reflects the hard work and prestige that my grandfather set into motion in 1968.
When Amaury and I started kicking around ideas for names, I happened to say "We need something that represents our foundation". Without hesitation he looked me directly in my eye and said "Well then it has to be Sixth & Hill". From there "The Sixth & Hill Jewelry Company" was born. We never considered another name, and opened an office on Sixth & Hill overlooking Pershing Square a few weeks later.
Our goal is to bridge the gaps between urban and high end jewelry, by constantly pushing the creative envelope and staying true to our old school foundation. Whether reinventing a staple like the classic Jesus Piece or creating an original piece that has never been seen, we always put our creativity, craftsmanship, and sense of style first. And it was important for us to build a brand that facilitates those qualities.
I'm not exactly sure what is going to come of this blog in the future. My plan is to use our past and present experiences as a guide to the world of Urban Jewelry; whether breaking down technical questions, exploring the histories and back stories of classic and iconic jewelry pieces, or just highlighting things that we think are cool and relevant,I hope that all of you have a good time keeping up with us as we continue to build our dream.