Monday, December 23, 2013

Genuine Gem: Chit Chat with Future Jewelry Maven Kimberly McNamara

Wanderlust. No, not that Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston comedy from 2012. Although, I do always love Mr.Rudd and his adorable persona, I am actually referring to jewelry this time. Yup, I'm talking earrings, necklaces, and rings, but more specifically that of soon to be jewelry designing graduate, Kimberly McNamara. When first laying eyes on several of the pieces she had crafted so far, wanderlust is exactly what I felt within that moment. The brilliant craftsmanship and modern twist on classic designs ignited a desire in me to travel and explore, not to a place necessarily, but to a dream world that accessories are once again creative and fun. That is, after all, what her designs, whether that be her drop earrings or her funky assortment of rings, lead there owners to feel every time one puts a piece on. Imagine the ring from Lord of the Rings making you want to wear it more, just minus all the creepy "eye" stuff and annoying Gollum. Of course, it would be nice if Orlando Bloom came with the package. In my experience of viewing them all, the more I looked and tried on, the more I wanted the hand-made accessories. That doesn't happen a lot for me when it comes to jewelry because I am more into clothes than diamonds, but I can't deny the alluring effect of Kimberly's talent in making one of a kind jewels. After all, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, this girl definitely has an eye for it.

It was a cool and very breezy day in October, when Kimberly and I met up in a park (brilliant idea with strong gusts of wind), and spoke about her dreams, Kim Kardashian's engagement ring, and her irrational fear of earrings. She wore a chic get up featuring a floral dress and canary yellow sweater. Me...well let's just blame the wind for my lack of style that day. Actually, let's blame the wind for everything.

You traveled around the world and studied abroad in Glasgow. I had no idea that there was so much for jewelry making.

It's really not that big. I mean most art schools have majors for it, but they are more for sculpturing and mine was specifically for jewelry. I got to learn a lot about working with materials, like when we learned how to make spoons.

How long were you in Scotland?

I was there for one whole semester, which is two here. It was amazing...the best thing I have ever done. Just because I got to learn by seeing jewelry shows first hand and how they are marketing their designs. There were about five people I learned

Obviously, while you were there, there must have  been historical pieces. Were there any that stood out to you?

I'm not really into older pieces. We definitely had to do a lot of research on them, but I am more into contemporary jewelry. I did, however, get to go to Schmuck Jewelry Fair in Munich, Germany. There, we were able to go to many galleries featuring items from designers all around the world.

What is your favorite stone or gem to work with?

My favorite, which I actually don't have with me, (laughs) is from Italy which is dark blue and has imperfections in it. It's really pretty.

Where do you get all your materials?

(laughs) I am an avid stone collector. I go to a lot of jewelry shows. Some I got from my time in Scotland. I recently went to New York and bought about  sixty-five stones. So I just have an obsession with them.

Would you rather create your designs with stone than diamonds?

Yeah. I'm not really into diamonds. I personally don't want to go into commercial jewelry.

How about pearls?

Not really. I find them a little older. Maybe later on.

Yeah my mom's engagement ring is a pearl. She isn't into diamonds either.

Oh really? I love when people do that. It's different. I don't like diamonds for engagement rings.

Very true. I like Lauren Conrad's because it's small and a pretty color, but something like Kim Kardashian's is way too big. (laughs)

Oh my goodness yeah! I could walk on it. I would be to scared to walk around with like 15 karats, but she probably has a body guard so that's good. (laughs)

You have a lot of rings? Is that your favorite to make?

Yeah. I love rings. I wear tons of them everyday. Earrings...well I have this irrational fear (laughs) that my earrings are going to be ripped off. I could blame soccer for that because when I use to play that is all they ever told us, to keep us from wearing them on the field.

Now, you decided to open an Etsy Store (wind blows hair into mouth) what was your process to making that decision? 

A lot of people were asking to buy pieces I made. Usually, I only make one of each kind. I'm a little possessive with my designs, so when I made my account I choose ones that I know I can make again. This way I can keep the original. (laughs)

What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your jewelry? 

I would love to see my pieces in galleries and museums, but ultimately I just want my own store. I want to have one in New York City someday. It would be nice if everyday people would be able to wear it, but I would also think it awesome if someone wore it on the Red Carpet.

I didn't know what I was going to do when I went to college, but I found it. I originally wanted to go into fashion design, but my parents steered me away from it since it is such a competitive field. I am beyond glad they did though, because if not I wouldn't have discovered my passion for jewelry.

You found your niche then! 

Yeah and I am loving it.

Make sure to check out Kim's shop on Etsy when it reopens January 10th with new items!

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