But a few years later, as an up and coming jewelry designer, Jon found himself thinking back on that pearl market. It only made sense for him to start including the material into his designs. But he didn’t just want to use pearls in the classic, almost elitist, sense, he wanted to put his own unique spin on them.

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful material to be working with, it's so versatile when you start to really look into it,” says Jon. “Pearls come in every shape you can imagine, you can dye them, heat them up and shape them and really bring a lot of life to them.”

Jon’s roots in jewelry trace back to 2012 when he began creating it as a hobby. Originally from Montreal, Jon says he was drawn to Toronto by the drive of its entrepreneurial community.

“Montreal is very laid back, casual and artistic so you set up a meeting and then people cancel,” he says. “In Toronto I find that people are eager to succeed and I thought that was the perfect environment for me to be in.”

With his bridal collection in Kleinfeld at Hudson’s Bay and last year’s nomination as the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent in Accessories at the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards, Jon has earned himself accolades both internationally and at home in Toronto. He’s also made philanthropy a staple of his brand’s essence with 25 per cent of profits going to charity.

He says it’s all part of the “optimistic” nature of his designs.

“There are a lot of fashion people that design with black head to toe – it’s really big right now, put a safety pin on a chain and call that a piece of jewelry,” says Jon. “But my look is colourful and bold and optimistic.”

Although he draws a lot of inspiration from Toronto and owns a house in small town Italy with his husband, he’s says Toronto will stay a part of his story.

It's a really great environment, especially for a business incubator because it’s bustling, there’s so much going on,” he says. “I read somewhere that 50 per cent of people are born outside of Toronto which means, to me, that people are here because they choose to be.”