Eye for Beauty

AT 34, LUCAS PRIOLO has already retired once. So it goes for a talented young man who left his Fairfax home as a teenager to become a principal dancer with the Texas Ballet Theater in Fort Worth and returned to work in the 20-year-old family business, Sofia Jewelry. How did you learn to design jewelry? From my father, and he learned from his father, so I am third generation. What did your dad teach you? He instilled in me the passion for creating something from zero and turning it into a beautiful thing. What was his important lesson? That you don’t have to know everything. What are you most passionate about? Right now, my favorite thing is fabrication, working with the actual metal itself. I like taking a sheet of metal and forging, hammering and shaping it into something that never went through any other process other than what I did to it with my bare hands. What personal characteristics does a jeweler need? You have to follow your mind and your heart wherever it leads. Sometimes an idea evolves in a different way and as it forms you say, “Oh, man, that is awesome.” And then you have a whole new piece of jewelry that you didn’t see coming at all. I put out some pieces like that on my first day back at the store and they sold hours later. How did that feel? Fantastic. Such a high. It’s the high of performing. Do you miss dancing? Not yet. You’re still in great shape. Well, it’s only two months. Any overlap between being a ballet dancer and being a jeweler? This may sound cheesy, but in ballet I was a partner and I made women look beautiful with me behind the scenes. Now, I do that again by making something beautiful that makes them feel beautiful. In a way, I still get to take care of my partners. What’s it like to be back home? I could not be happier. Are you kidding? There’s no way to even compare it. Tell us about your family. My wife was a dancer, too. We danced all around the world. We did everything together. She was my Juliet. We have a 7-year-old boy, Jordan, and a 5-year-old girl, Olivia. Is one of them a fourth-generation jeweler? Jordan’s an artist. He’ll go wherever that art takes him. And Olivia? She’s a ballerina. She loves to dance and be a princess. We’ve got a happy life right now.