Conversation with Jane Kaye, Jewelry Designer

Have you ever wondered about what jewelry designers actually do to create the beautiful pieces in their collections? Well, I have, so I asked my friend, Jane Kaye, to help me understand the process. There are many, many jewelry designers, and each has a different technique and way of creating their jewelry collections.

In Jane's case, her career evolved by accident. She and her parents were walking down Madison Avenue in NYC one day and came upon an estate jewelry store. They entered, and to make a long story short, she left the store with a job! She worked closely with the owners of this family business, and her interest in jewelry grew. To this day, she looks to antique jewelry for inspiration; the techniques used, the stones, the style all influence her designs.

I asked her to walk me through her creative process, and here is what she said:

"I find the stone first. I have relationships with stone people all over the world. I choose the stones that I feel are the most beautiful, and design the pieces around them. I sketch or play with the stones themselves to come up with my designs. Next, I work with a jeweler to discuss functionality. Will this be too heavy for an earring, for example? I tell the person exactly what I want, using photos and sketches, and being very specific. I have worked with most of them for a long time now, so we understand each other pretty well. I also love working with clients who have a piece of jewelry or a stone, let's say it was their grandmother's. They want to change it up or use the stone in another way. I really enjoy custom work; bringing new life to old pieces and stones."

Who is your "girl"? Who do you have in mind when you design?

"I think I design for a woman who likes to express herself in her own unique way. My pieces are to be worn every day. They can be mixed with the pieces you already have to create a completely personal look. You can layer the bracelets, necklaces, and rings, for example."

What are the current and upcoming trends in jewelry?

"The scale is getting larger; you will see a lot of statement pieces. Also, color is a trend. Stones of all sizes and colors are a thing right now. I'm having fun designing with colored stones. One-of-a-kind pieces are big too, which I love."

Where can we find your collection?

"You can go to my website I also have pieces at the Carlyle hotel in NYC. I take private appointments as well."

On a more personal note, give us a little background. Where did you go to school?

"I went to Connecticut College and majored in French and History."

Are you married?

"Yes, I have been married to my husband (who I met in high school) for three years. We are actually expecting our first baby!"

What is your favorite place?

"In New York, it's the Carlyle. In the world, it's Paris."

What do you like to read?

"I actually love magazines about Interior Design, such as Architectural Digest and Elle Decor. I get inspiration for my jewelry designs from them."

What is your personal style aesthetic?

"I have always been interested in fashion. I love mixing it up-high and low or feminine but edgy. I am a minimalist; I love clean lines."

How do you begin your day?

"I start each day with coffee and end with a cup of tea."

Here are a few of my favorite pieces by Jane.

Alison Bruhn