Today’s interview is with jewelry designer Kelly Morgen, Owner of Kelly Morgen Jewelry, based in San Francisco, CA!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

I have been bringing stories to life since 2005! I create each of my unique goddess necklaces using the ancient techniques of the Italian masters, with whom I studied in Florence. Every piece tells a empowering story of love, passion, creativity, healing, and more. Much like talismans of old, my necklaces are designed to be worn throughout the course of your life, lending strength and inspiration to your expression of you. I also bring my training with a Cherokee shaman and silversmith to my art, wedding a legacy of fine craftsmanship to healing intention. I use a traditional jeweler’s hand-saw and flame torch, as well as the maritime art of scrimshaw to carve my goddesses’ faces onto recycled piano keys. My work has been featured in international art magazine Ornament as well as fine art galleries worldwide, celebrity collections, and the Russell-Cotes Museum in England. I was officially licensed in 2015 by the Mucha family to carry on the art nouveau style of Alphonse Mucha, the father of the Art Nouveau movement.

Read the full interview after the cut!

How did you get into the business?

During a study-abroad program in Florence, Italy, I took a beginning jewelry course and absolutely fell in love. I knew from the first moment I wanted to be a jeweler! I spent every possible moment working in the studio until I was offered an apprenticeship to the master goldsmith. It was a wonderful moment for me, and after learning so much during my time in Italy, I returned to the States to graduate college. I then finished my jewelry apprenticeship with Cherokee shaman Heyoka Merrifield in Montana, and it was he who encouraged me to pursue my love of mythology in each necklace, as well as start my business. I founded Kelly Morgen Jewelry in 2005 and have been going strong ever since!

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Designing and sawing. I could spend all day with my little hand-held jeweler’s saw, cutting out tiny details, or designing new pieces.

If you could pick one unique product or service offering, which would be your favorite, and why?

Probably the fact that every person can find a story they relate to in my work, and choose the necklace that’s unique to them. I love the idea that you can wear your story around your neck, and hope that it empowers people to share themselves and their own special gifts with the world.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to others just getting started in your field?

My keywords are passionate persistence. If you really want something, don’t let obstacles or negativity stands in your way. Keep asking for what you want, or come at the problem from a new direction. I must have called over 100 jewelers in the States looking for an apprenticeship, when I ended up finding Heyoka Merrifield at a Renaissance Faire and impressing him with my work so far. He offered me an apprenticeship after I sent him a detailed resume with dozens of pictures and enthusiasm.

What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?

When I’m not making jewelry or loving my cat Crumpet, I sing medieval music in a madrigal choir, practice archery and embroidery, play role-playing games like Shadowrun with my friends, run and produce large scale LARPs with themes like Robin Hood & Sherlock, and spend time biking all over San Francisco with my partner.

Any great stories from working with a client?

I have really enjoyed working from pictures that clients provide me. One woman gave me a photo of her lovely daughter dressed as a fairy, and I made an amazing custom necklace, capturing her daughter’s face, dress, and wings! I can make virtually anything for custom work and hope you’ll email me with your custom request.

What makes you different from others in your field?

I set out to make my jewelry completely different than anything else out there. There is no other jeweler in the world who makes art nouveau goddess jewelry, and I love making necklaces that are truly one-of-a-kind.

Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?

I think being “wed” to an engagement ring is a trend that could be let go. Many women have trouble with their fingers swelling or their ring catching on things. I’d like to see engagement necklaces become a new trend!

All photos by Ralph Gabriner

What tips or advice can you give to couples who are in the midst of planning their big day?

I would remind them that this is a ceremony between the two of them, and not get caught up in spending huge amounts of money, inviting people they don’t really want there, or catering to other family members. Stick to what’s important to the two of you!

Thanks, Kelly! For more information about Kelly Morgan Jewelry, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile.

Do you have any questions for Kelly? Add them to the comments below!