Wednesday, March 16, 2011

{ meet the brand } Third Culture Jewelry

I can't pinpoint a favorite item in my jewelry box, but I can tell you that it has all been neglected since receiving the Chinatown Necklace from Kate at Third Culture Jewelry. In fact, my fixation with the silver and gold lariat hasn't waned since its arrival a couple of weeks ago.

Kate Gray is the talented designer behind the emerging jewelry line - and she has a penchant for oversize statement jewelry. In short, she's a girl after my own heart. I was inextricably drawn to the Chinatown Necklace for its versatility. I've worn it with a simple black turtleneck and with a striped sailor tee as seen here. The necklace can be tied once, twice or looped around the neck.

Like all of Kate's creations, it's a wearable piece of art, illustrating her handiwork and attention to detail. A tassel cascades from the beads at the end of the necklace, creating incredible movement when worn - a testament to her thoughtfulness. Read on to learn more about the lovely lady behind Third Culture Jewelry.

{ Tell us a little bit about yourself and your line. }

I grew up in seven different countries and always considered myself a world traveler. My background explains my eclectic personal style, which comes out loud and clear in my jewelry. I have always been super creative, working with fabrics, clay, knitting, embroidery, you name it! My grandfather was a jeweler, and I got my love for metal and statement jewelry from him. I basically grew up watching him set stones and melting old sterling silver spoons to make stunning cuff bracelets. Seriously! He was the original recycler.

{ What inspires your work? }

Travel and my past experiences play a huge part in my creative process. When it comes to a seasonal collection, I like to pick a theme. San Francisco is the first place that feels like home, so my first collection, SF Love, was inspired by places and buildings in the city. The new Spring/Summer Collection was inspired by the places where I grew up.

The creative process behind my one of a kind pieces is completely different. This will sound silly, but all of the found objects, vintage brooches and chains speak to me. I look at an antique piece and immediately know how to bring it back to life. I feel like a kid at a candy store when going to flea markets and antique stores. Find a new treasure is the most exciting thing ever.

{ What types of materials do you work with? }

Vintage chains, brooches, clips, found objects, antique pocket watch keys, old watch chains make unique jewelry that tells stories and starts conversations. Most of the chains I use are brass or plated, mainly because to keep a statement jewelry piece affordable you have to stay away from precious materials. A statement piece can make your whole outfit. Jeans and a white tee are transformed when you add a large turquoise necklace. I am also embracing color with large semi-precious stones and still keeping all pieces reasonably priced.

{How has your work evolved? What's next? }

I am learning to think more about my customer and not just creating for myself. It’s challenging to not get wrapped up in your own personal style and be critical of your work.

I am loving large and colorful gem pieces, so you will be seeing a lot more of that. I am also working on a line of bridal jewelry, reworking vintage brooches into statement pieces for brides and the bridal party.

{ What's your favorite piece? The most popular? }

My favorite piece is the Avila Necklace (below), and funny enough it’s the most popular.

Love Kate's designs?
Giveaway announcement soon!


  1. Wow-- LOVE her work. Definitely "statement-y" enough but still versatile and so wearablbe. Can't wait for the giveaway!


  2. ! I love the jewelry!! It's all so unique and refreshing, and definitely - that last piece, the popular one is amazing! Great interview too :)

  3. GORGEOUS the designer too!!

    Stop by and say Hello:)
    Enter my Free People Giveaway!!♥

  4. What gorgeous pieces! You know I can't get enough of statement jewelry either!

    (and I love what you've been doing with your graphic types and titles lately!)

  5. Oooh what fun stuff!!! :D I love that bracelet you posted at the bottom

  6. that necklace is awesome, jessica! great pick! and i'm dying over that bracelet. honestly put gold and turquoise together? i'm buying it!


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