BEJEWELED: BLAIR LAUREN BROWN

Designer: Blair Lauren Brown | BlairLaurenBrown.com

Describe your designs in three words: Modern. American. Heirloom.

How did you get started in the jewelry industry? I was born into jewelry. I am the fourth generation in an American jewelry legacy. I still have pieces my great grandfather produced in my collection, and I have a pieces my grandfather and I produced together. This is all on my father’s side in Alaska. On my mother’s side, my grandfather was a jewelry estate collector, so I was constantly surrounded by beautiful and timeless design. It only seemed right that I carried on the tradition. Then I fell in love with not just designing it, but making it too.

What materials do you most like to work with? Raw alluvial gold, also called placer gold, is the staple of my design. It is shaped by the land and thus my design is inspired by the raw materials themselves. It is the perfect combination of untouched nature in its purest mineral form, and nature modified by the elements around it from both land to water movement.

What’s one thing jewelry design has taught you about life? My designs are not just influenced by the materials, they are largely about and dictated by the forms of the materials: raw gold specifically. The shapes of alluvial pieces of raw gold determine what can be made with them. My design begins with selecting a piece of alluvial gold and then designing around it, so it is really part of the process of letting go, and realizing I am just a piece of this process. My design is not all about controlling the outcome—it’s about letting the true nature shine and accepting the beauty of every step before my influences, as well as every influence and interaction thereafter.

What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date? There have been awards, and I deeply appreciate the recognition from established communities, like being a finalist for the 2015 CFDA Lexus Eco Fashion Challenge.  Building a business from a passion is an endeavor that provides little rest, as there is an underlying feeling that there will always be more to do. When it all comes together, what I am most grateful for is that this award, and others, are a testament to my perseverance.

What’s one thing people would never guess about you? I used to work road construction, operating heavy machinery in Alaska, and I loved it.
 
Priceless means: Priceless is a combination of relationship and experience. I think the nature of this concept, in the context of jewelry, is something that has the art and story of the maker combined with the appreciation and the story of the wearer. That is what makes something an heirloom, and an heirloom with history passes on a story and is thus priceless.