What led you to pursue jewelry design and launch Melissa Kaye?
I have an undergraduate degree in computer science and a master’s degree in computational finance. After a career in finance as a quantitative strategist, I decided to take a different turn and pursue a lifelong interest in jewelry design. I completed the two year jewelry design program at FIT doing bench-work and design. Soon after, Melissa Kaye Jewelry was born!
Describe your design process.
I can't say that I have a set design process. Inspiration is everywhere and anywhere if you're open to it. However, my starting point with every piece is always "How will this piece work?" I think this design approach is a result of my engineering background.
What do you enjoy most about working in the jewelry industry?
I love to create new pieces and continue to push my designs while staying true to my aesthetic. It is very rewarding to start with a concept and see it come to life. I think there is a popular misconception that some people are just "creative" - as if amazing design ideas simply float into to their minds at a whim. I actually think that being creative takes a lot of hard work, just like anything else.
What does a typical day in the life of Melissa Kaye look like?
My days can be quite varied. As a designer and business owner you have to be nimble and wear many hats. My time is spent on design, manufacturing solutions, sales and marketing, etc. There's never a dull moment.
What pieces do you never leave home without?
I've always been an earring girl - I never leave home without them. On a day-to-day basis it's generally a stud earring. When I started the collection, one of the most important things to me was to create a special, unique stud that could be worn every day but could also be dressed up. From a design perspective, a stud earring is an interesting challenge: how do you create something that really packs a punch in such a small space? Our Embedded Collection was one such answer to this question. These earrings have a tremendous amount of detail in a very small space and to me, they are very special and unique.
I also recently got 2 additional piercings in my left ear. So I've been having fun with mixing and matching different earrings in the collection.
I love your use of trillions, how did those designs come to life?
I've always really loved fancy cut stones and in particular, trillions. Once I started designing with trillions I couldn't stop! At this point, it has definitely become a signature of the collection. And I have many more trillion-based design concepts in mind to continue to feed my obsession!
What is next for Melissa Kaye Jewelry?
We are currently working hard to expand brand awareness and reach. And of course I'm always working to push the designs further and create fun and interesting pieces.
It is an honor to post about Melissa Kaye on Juler's Row, from the first time I saw her jewelry I was a fan. Her use of fancy shape diamonds and colored stones is extraordinary. Her pieces are the perfect addition to any collection, they can easily stand alone, but also look fabulous when stacked together. So excited for what is to come from Melissa Kaye!