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Starling Darling Lily Kunin

Starling DarlingsStarling Darling Lily KuninFounder & Author of Clean Food | Dirty City, Clean Market

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To me, a keepsake is a reminder of someone or something special in my life.

Lily Kunin is a plant-based cook and health coach in New York City and founder of Clean Food, Dirty City a site filled with plant-based meals and info on clean beauty, travel and living. She is also the author of Good Clean Food, a clean eating cookbook and recently opened Clean Market in NYC, a mecca of modern wellness for the everyday. We've been impressed by her for a while, she is a wealth of knowledge around clean eatting and we always love making one of her amazingly good recipes. Over the years Lily has also become a Starling friend and we love seeing how she layers together her new and old jewelry. As she says elevating her basic white tee and sneaker uniform. Girl after our own heart!  Read below to learn more about her heirloom pieces and a significant SOS that helps her through the tough days. 

What does “keepsake” mean to you? What piece of jewelry comes to mind when you think of keepsakes?

To me, a keepsake is a reminder of someone or something special in my life. When I think of keepsake, I think of my great grandmothers pearl earrings that my grandmother passed down to me when I was in high school.

What is your favorite piece in your jewelry box?


My great grandmother’s pearl earrings (I wore these every day for so long!) Because of this, they have also fallen off in public many times and someone I have always managed to find them!
My great grandmother’s ring from my grandmother (this was also passed along to me in high school)
My Starling Olive Lariat Necklace that I purchased for myself last year and wear every day :)

Any jewelry superstitions or rituals?

Yes! My friends bought me a gold ring that says “SOS” and I will wear it whenever I am nervous for good luck.

What are your everyday pieces of jewelry?

My Starling Olive Lariat Necklace, and a single pearl string bracelet (also Starling). For earrings, I’ll wear gold hoops, diamond studs, or sapphires.

Any favorite antique pieces?

My great grandmother’s ring.

What jewelry have you bought recently?

I love delicate gold and diamond pieces, and like to collect jewelry that I can layer and wear together. I’ve been collecting a lot of gold hoops recently too, as they are classic, fun, and feminine, elevating my usual jeans, white tee and sneaker uniform.

How many jewelry boxes do you own?


I have one main jewelry box and lots of little bowls that I keep rings and earrings in all over the house.

Favorite Starling design?

Olive Lariat necklace!

Tell us the story of getting your ears pierced.


This is one of my earliest and most distinct memories. I have two older sisters and I wanted to get my ears pierced since I was 2 years old. When I was three it was finally time. Even though I was with my mom, the jewelry store wanted to make sure I really consented to the piercing and asked for me to write my name. Thankfully I was able to do so, as having leave without my ears pierced would have been devastating for me! I got them pierced with little red rubies. After the piercing, I went straight to gymnastics class and it wasn’t until on the way home that I realized one of the little red rubies had fallen out. My mom cleaned my ears and put in some clean gold studs of hers, which were way too big for my baby ears. This was probably the happiest day of my life at that point!