Meet the Maker: Melissa Joy Manning
Next weekend our store is hosting a total case takeover of Melissa Joy Manning's work, so we figured it would be a good time for y'all to get to know her!
This is Melissa:
And this is some of Melissa's work:
Every piece of Melissa's line is hand made in their New York or California studio by people who make a living wage and will actually be able to retire. We love her sincere respect for artisans and craftspeople who make work like this possible.
From her website:
Domestic handmade production eliminates the heavy waste and pollution that can come from high volume and machine made jewelry, and it reduces the carbon imprint that massive international import and export leaves on the earth. Crafting each piece by hand imbues our creations with a sense of spirit and energy that cannot be replicated in mass market production, and it increases the demand for artisan job opportunities in our own community.
Everything is made to last a lifetime and works counter to the culture of disposable fashion we live in now. In addition to that, all of the gold they use is recycled, which in its small way helps limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury that are dumped into the soil during the mining process.
Melissa started her company in 1997 with $1000 and a whole lot of willpower. She visited local stores she liked and asked if they were interested in carrying her jewelry (different times, huh?). By continually reinvesting in herself, she built the company into what it it today: a bicoastal operation with a cult following.
As an avid traveller and nature lover, she gleans her inspiration from the world around her and from the natural beauty of Northern California. You can just see it in the stones she chooses, right?
Melissa is the co-chair of the CFDA Sustainability Committee, and as an advisory board member to Lexus/CFDA Fashion Positive and Nest, where she challenges the perceptions of preciousness and also those of manufacturing processes in the fashion and jewelry worlds.
Why we chose her.
To us, MJM's line represents everything we want to carry in our store. We love that she eschews traditional white diamond jewelry and asks you to think about what makes something precious and irreplaceable. All of her work is either one of a kind or limited run, which makes anything you buy from her line extra special. We love the chunky stones and bold colors, that it's all "green" gold (if you look into gold mining practices, this would become important to you too), and that everything is made by respected craftsmen in the United States.