The beauty of gem stones, aside from their rarity, has long captivated the interest of humans, which explains how much they are valued. Our fascination of them have grown so much that we didn’t just want to look at them—we want to wear them. Fortunately, gems can be incorporated in little trinkets of accessories in a seamless way that makes us feel like gold and silver were made to be paired with shiny diamonds and regal rubies; as if they are tandems that nature had in mind as years developed them separately. We might have a bigger chance of knowing if that true, only if we can talk to the gems, right?
If that’s a bizarre idea for you, you’d be amazed of how one jeweller manages to talk to stones she puts in her brand’s jewelry, making them quite special and even more beautiful, as the gems themselves pick “what they want to be.” This awesome jeweler is none other than Melissa Joy Manning, the founder of her eponymous jewelry brand, and a certified gem stone geek.
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Meet the rock geek
Melissa Joy Manning started her brand from her deep love for gemology, a thing that’s not just she values externally, but regards as something that’s a part of her already. She calls herself as “total rock geek,” as she can get quite engrossed when she is at the presence of stones. While she isn’t a total snub when it comes to traditional stones, Melissa prefers the organic look of gem stones like dendritic agates or trapiche emeralds, which contain oddities that make them even more beautiful. She continues to widen her knowledge about stones, something she loves even more.
Melissa’s process of picking the right stones to go with a particular jewelry deviates from the norm—after laying the stones out, she listens and waits for the stones to speak to her about where they would prefer to be, and with what kind of stone, too. It might be weird or unbelievable for some, but it’s a key part of the process that Melissa herself claims to be true, and so far, it has worked like a charm. The world has been a witness to the awesome combinations that she and her brand came up with, like intricate chains filled with citrines, or even raw sapphires added with huge opals.
Aside from being a stone charmer, a lady boss, and a jewelry designer, Melissa serves as a co-chair in the CFDA Sustainability Committee, while she also actively participates in the Lexus/CFDA Fashion Positive and Nest as a member of its advisory board. She is known not only for jewelry design and craft, but for pushing a clean, ethical and proper processes in the jewelry industry. It’s no wonder she has a name that’s recognized by many, especially by fans of her namesake brand that’s present in various locations and its own boutiques in Soho and Brooklyn, New York, as well as Berkely, and CA.
Authentic and socially-responsible brand
The Melissa Joy Manning brand isn’t one that wants to be known for just pretty jewelry, rather, it focuses on delivering modern and unique designs with touches of the different inspirations that the founder get from her travels, her love for art, and fascination about culture. With that at the core of the label, it has grown its collections without compromising uniqueness and quality, always ensuring that the signature mark of the brand can be seen in every pieces. One-of-a-kind accessories and bridal jewelry are also featured among the various ranges in the brand’s collections.
All jewelries of the brand undergo a fully handmade process by an expert team, composed of highly- artisans that are skilled in traditional techniques and time-honored metal smithing process. Aside from having the best people to create the pieces, the Green by the State of California also certified such detailed and meticulous process, assuring that it won’t harm the environment.
The brand sticks to an entirely handmade process not only to ensure the quality of each piece it produces, but also to avoid using huge machineries to make the jewerly, thereby not contributing to the massive carbon imprint that most machine-made jewelry leaves behind. Through the hand-making process, the team can also be more personal with the energy then put into their labor, which can never be embodied by mass-produced jewelry.
Always with a story to tell
The main inspiration behind the designs of the brand is its aim to tell a story through the beautiful combination of materials—the story of both the maker and the wearer, and hopefully, stories of the next generation of wearers that the jewelry will be passed onto. In fact, the latest collection released by the brand is a reflection of a mixture of different cultures, including antique pieces that were sourced from Africa, New Zealand Mongolia, Micronesia, and Papua New Guinea. It is a celebration of how rich the traditions of these cultures are, resonating it through the different silhouettes and added gemstones of the jewelry pieces.