Pour yourself a cup of tea or glass of wine (whatever does it for you because I might babble a bit in the intro). This interview is with Jillian of Marrow Fine. Jillian recently left her corporate job to give her jewelry line Marrow Fine her all. In the interview, she talks about since she started Marrow Fine it feels like she is in the flow and the all the right people have come into her life. I would like to think, hopefully, I am one of those people. I spotted this indie brand one day scrolling the #gemhuntrings pictures (yes I really do go through them) and after reposting this insanely amazing stack of moonstones and diamonds - I was instantly hooked on her fresh aesthetic.
I didn't necessarily expect what happened next, Jillian and I connected on the phone and instantly there was mutual jewelry loving vibes. She told me the story (which I won't spoil) that you will read below about loving jewelry for its sentimental value not necessarily its material value that struck a deep cord with me. She loves to help people get the jewels out of the jewelry box and into a new design that will be worn and loved every day and I have to say she is damn good at it. If you haven't guessed already, I may have some girl crush vibes going on here but I think you will to after reading this interview.
Tell me about how you got started in the jewelry industry?
It’s an accident really. I’ve been in the corporate grind for the past 15 years. My job allowed me to travel some and I met many of my best friends (and my husband) there, but it was leaving me bankrupt from a creativity standpoint. So I just started meditating on the idea of gratitude for what I have and hoping that my real calling would present itself.
A year ago, my Grandma Mary passed and she left me some of her baubles. Some big opal earrings, a small diamond band and a few other odds and ends. The jewelry wasn’t particularly my style, but it had a crazy amount of sentimental value to me. I didn’t want it to just sit in a drawer.
So I started sketching up ideas and my good friend, Lindsey knew a wholesale jeweler. He made the rings for me and the process was so rad. They took my sketch and within 10 days, I had a computer rendering of exactly what the ring would look like. Then 10 days later, my sketch came to life and here was my grandma’s stone in a funky, one of a kind ring. Then people started stopping me on the street, at the nail salon, in a restaurant asking where I got my ring.
That’s how it all started. Once I started sketching and sharing that process with clients, more referrals started coming in. The right people have come into my life, so it has all flowed. When I started telling my friends I was starting a fine jewelry line and cashing in my 401k to do it, I think they all thought I lost my mind. But my husband believed in me…he never wavered and my folks supported me 100 percent too. That kinda makes all the difference when you’re jumping into unknown territory.
It hasn’t been easy…it’s the most work I’ve ever done. But it doesn’t feel like work, which everyone says is how you know it’s the right thing. At 37, I guess I’ve become a cliche and I’m really grateful for that.
What is your favorite part about what you do?
I love working through the creative process with my clients. Helping them to make a piece that they will be obsessed with. You know what the best part is? When I get to deliver a piece in person and she puts the ring on her finger and can’t stop moving her fingers back and forth to watch it sparkle wearing the biggest smile. I can picture all of my clients doing this and their joy is contagious. Sometimes I cry which I know is silly, but I’m just so damn happy about it.
What’s your favorite piece of jewelry in your jewelry box?
Ooooooooof…do I really have to pick one? I can’t, I have three, but I’ll keep it short.
First, The opal ring from my grandma’s old earring, which started Marrow Fine.
Second, My engagement ring that I recently redesigned using the center stone my husband proposed to me with. I know how hard he worked to learn about diamonds to choose the most beautiful stone and that means a lot.
Three, My black diamond cuff. It really goes with everything and I can wear it with cutoffs and a tank or to a black tie wedding.
Do you have a jewelry idol?
The list is a long one for sure. My two favorites right now are Joy Smith with Communion by Joy and Sofia Ajram with Morphe Jewelry. I love that they seem like conscious, intentional women and that their pieces have so much beauty and soul to them. I don’t know them, but I feel like I have a sense of them through their work. I think that is a mark of a great designer….they make me feel something.
Any personal motto’s when it comes to styling and wearing jewelry?
I switched to a capsule closet (42 pieces of clothing — that’s it!) and it changed my life and I’ve adopted the “less is more” attitude in most areas of my life including jewelry. I want to own quality pieces. Sometimes that means I might think about it and save for it for a year, but I would rather have one show-stopping piece than a bunch of rings that will just end up in a drawer because they turn my fingers green.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
Man, all over the place! Our little town in Cardiff (in San Deigo) is so beautiful. It’s funny, I never know when an idea is going to come. I carry a sketchpad with me and keep it by my bed. Sometimes I’ll see something on the street that’s interesting or shapes or colors in nature will trigger an idea.
I just saw the Ellsworth Kelly exhibit in San Francisco at MOMA and I was sketching ideas and had a collection named and the photoshoot planned in my mind before I left the museum…I was thinking of calling it The Shape of Things. I can see the unique stone cuts, the models (a male and a female) and playing on the shapes of their bodies and shadows.
But, I have to sit on it for a while to see if I want to bring it all to life. Sometimes because I’m so close to all of it — the jewelry designs, our social media presence, photo shoots, all of it — I start to second guess myself. I know what I like, but will others like it? All the little doubt monsters creep in. I’ve gotten better at listening to my gut and when in doubt I meditate and just try to quiet my mind and receive.
And thank god for my girlfriends…I can count on them for honest feedback. I am amazed by the talented women I know that lend me their ears, advice, and their hearts. We just keep lifting each other up and to watch this growing tribe flourish is the ultimate gift.
In partnership with Marrow Fine.