Meet Seattle Jewelry designer Rachael Ryen. Her delicate designs of natural gemstones will make you rethink a perfectly cut stone or shiny edges. Her pieces are designed with the latest trends in mind and handmade in Seattle. Find out what inspired Rachael to follow her passion for jewelry design and what makes her hometown of Seattle so special.
Name: Rachael Byers
Brand: Rachael Ryen Jewelry
Occupation: Jewelry Designer
What inspired you to become a jewelry designer?
I come from a family of artists and by the age of 4 I knew I wanted to do something with fashion and design. I also adore gemstones and have been fascinated by them since an early age, but it wasn’t until later in life that I put the two together. Out of college, life took me in a different direction and I pursued a career in marketing. While I enjoyed my job, I knew it wasn’t my passion. I wanted to do something that nurtured my creativity and began making jewelry as a hobby. As my interest for jewelry developed I began taking wax carving and soldering classes in my free time. A few of my friends saw my pieces and convinced me to start selling my collection. When I landed in my first boutique I knew this was what I was meant to do.
What was the inspiration behind your brand?
Rachael Ryen jewelry was inspired by icons like Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel, women who embody chic style and class. I wanted my brand to convey the same grace with elegant shapes and vibrant hues. You’ll find elements of the latest trend in each of my pieces, but my focus is on designing jewelry that is timeless for type of woman to wear every day, for any occasion.
What makes your designs/creations so unique or different from others or where did you see a void in the marketplace?
When shopping for pieces to add to my personal collection I noticed there weren’t many jewelry brands that offered pieces in between the “costume” and “fine” jewelry categories. It was difficult to find a beautiful, genuine stone that wasn’t set in solid gold with a price to match. The vision behind Rachael Ryen Jewelry was about creating a luxury brand that embraces vibrant colors using real gemstones, brilliant shapes and fun textures while maintaining a high-quality handcrafted feel that will not break the bank. My line encompasses pieces for everyone’s taste and budget, whether a woman wants a pair of classic gemstone stud earrings for everyday wear or a statement pieces for a special occasion.
Do you have a favorite medium / material that you use and why?
Definitely rough diamonds. I love their natural look and feel. Generally people equate smooth and faceted stones with diamonds which is why I felt compelled to integrate them into my designs. I wanted to demonstrate how textured freeform shapes have an unexpected elegance and with the right setting can be as stunning as a cut diamond. (Don't forget to enter to WIN one of her fabulous raw white diamond necklaces! Enter HERE)
What is your favorite thing about being a part of the fashion industry?
I love that women appreciate and enjoy wearing my jewelry. It’s the ultimate compliment. I also like the freedom and encouragement to think outside the box and interpret trends that showcase your individual style. I also really enjoy meeting so many amazingly talented people. It keeps you motivated and pushing to continue evolving your designs.
What is your favorite piece from your current collection?
The Rose Cut Gold Framed Ring…it’s the first ring added to my collection.
What is your current obsession?
I am obsessed with Emerald Green and was thrilled to learn it is the color of 2013.
What essential piece of jewelry do you think every gal should have in her collection?
A versatile piece in a timeless design that can easily be worn from day to night. A colorful gemstone ring or drop earring for example which can be used to quickly bring any outfit to life. Gemstones are a very easy way to introduce more color into your wardrobe. Not only does it change your look, it can change the way you feel.
What do you pack for a last minute trip? Is/are there a universal(s) pieces from your collection that can be worn everyday with any look?
Skinny jeans, Joie tops, a neutral pair of heels, flats, and sandals if the destination calls for it. I always pack a colorful dress that can go from day to night, a fun clutch and of course accessories. Easy jewelry to dress up or down such as my Gold Vermeil White Topaz Bar Necklace and Black Onyx Marquis Drop Earrings. My Rose Cut Moonstone Ring and Green Onyx Stud Earrings are also staples that go great with jeans or add a pop of color to any little black dress.
Why do you LOVE Seattle?
Seattle is very diverse. From the food, fashion, culture…there’s something for everyone. My favorite aspect of the city, however, is the proximity to the mountains, lakes and beaches. It’s an hour’s drive in the winter to some of the best skiing in the country. In the summer months I love joining my friends after work to wakeboard in Lake Washington or head to the Puget Sound and sail up to the San Juan Islands. And of course since it rains frequently here, it’s always very lush and green.
What do you think makes Seattle style different from any other city, or is it?
Seattle’s a city that embraces casual fashion. They are proud of their individuality and like to personalize the latest trends with splashes of vintage finds or handmade treasures for an overall look that is current, but notably unique.
Where is/are your favorite place(s) to shop in Seattle?
Nordstrom is my go-to store as it houses all my favorite designers under one roof. When I’m feeling the need to seek out something a little different I visit Canopy Blue in Madison Park or Merge in Fremont.
Favorite Career Moment?
My favorite career moment was when I landed my first boutique.
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