|The designer, Rachael Byers, sketching in her studio|
|Rachael Ryen Moonstone Gold Gemstone Bangle ($189)|
|Rachael Ryen round gemstone gold ring ($55-$125)|
Rachael Ryen (née Byers - the "Ryen" is an inside joke from a trip to Ireland) sounds like any other Jane-come-lately jewelry designer at first: out of business school and working her corporate job, she designed a piece for a friend, then some jewelry for bridesmaids, and then someone asked "why don't you try to make a business"? That's where this story quickly diverges from the usual. Ms. Byers had the business school acumen, but didn't know that much about the jewelry industry. So she dove right in. "I called people and begged for advice and education...I would work 12 hours a day learning how to solder", she told me (She's not exaggerating; when I asked her how a particular piece was made, she whipped out her tool kit, broke into a huge smile, and demonstrated jewelry casting).
Oh, and can we talk about the actual jewelry? Delicate, detailed, and beautifully cut (Ms. Byers is happy to explain gemstone cuts to you, as well) the pieces are extremely well made. With prices running from $36-$700, the collection fills the void between costume and fine jewelry. Using only real gemstones (think: amethyst, citrine, emerald) and simple, clean, sophisticated designs, the Rachael Ryen line is perfect for gifts... maybe even a gift for yourself? "Every girl should own a diamond necklace", says Byers. "And she shouldn't depend on a guy to buy it for her." My personal favorites? The signature bubblegum gemstone ring (only 125!), and the delicate diamond bar necklace - striking, sophisticated, and seriously stunning.
You can find Rachael Ryen online, or in local boutiques like Wish and Isabel Harvey. Follow Rachael Ryen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.