Feature Friday - Q&A with Kelley Ford Owen of Barrett Ford Fine Jewelry

She's certainly not your average jewelry designer!  And this week, I am so very honored to have had the privelage to have chatted with the mastermind behind Barrett Ford Fine Jewelry - Kelley Ford Owen!

Not only is Kelley an incrediablly talented designer but she also has her hands full with two twin toddler daughters!  A woman after my own heart, Kelley spent a lot of time in museums growing up and she has a (not so) secret love for Italy!

So enjoy this week's Q&A Feature Friday with Kelley Ford Owen!

1.  What prompted your passion for jewelry and jewelry design?
My father is an artist and he took me to the museum all the time when I was growing up.  Those visits led me to my studies of art history.  I studied studio art and art history in college then went on to write my thesis on an Italian fresco. I did not inherit his ability for painting and drawing but I was able to translate my love of art into jewelry making.  

2.  What is your favorite piece or collection?
I would have to say it is my branch earrings.  Those were the first things I made when I started trying to learn wire wrapping seven years ago.  They took me so long to create and were a labor of love.  They are still one of my favorite, most versatile styles.  

From Kelley's current collection, Mirror Mirror!

3.  What would your perfect “jewelry day” involve / be like?
I have two very curious and adorable twin girls who are also grabbers.  They will pull at anything I have in my ears or around my neck.  So, at the moment, my perfect jewelry day would not actually involve wearing the pieces but making them.  I love knowing I have a few hours to sit and create.  The stones I find inspire a lot of my designs and I get very excited to work with a new cut of stone.
From her Mirror, Mirror Collection "Seventeen" - made from rare deep blue london topaz with green sapphires, smokey
quartz & palest pink morganite, $360.

4.  Thus far, what would you say is your proudest jewelry moment or memory?
It would be the first show I did in Chicago.  I wasn’t sure I could pull it off and was very nervous about how people would respond to the collection.  But people were so supportive and loved that each piece was handmade and unique.  I have always wanted to make sure my pieces are different from anything else because they come from my own mini mistakes and triumphs. I felt that night that I had accomplished what I intended to do with the collection.

Look at these amazing beauties from the MIrror, Mirror Collection! "Four" - emerald cut aquamarine - 48ct., $500.

5.  Where do you find your greatest inspiration?
It definitely comes from all the exquisite works of art I have studied.  There is a certain aesthetic that I have developed from those years of study and appreciation that I hope translates into my work.  

"Nineteen" - red diamond, grey uncut diamond and green tourmaline rock candy necklace, $320.

6.  In your personal wardrobe, do you find that you gravitate to one particular jewelry accessory (rings vs. necklace vs. bracelets vs. watches, etc.) more often than others?
If I wear anything, which means the kids are in bed and I am headed out, it’s earrings.  I think they can instantly change an outfit and brighten up your face.  

7.  When putting together an outfit, how do you feel about mixing metals, designs and even new with vintage pieces?
I think the more different the better.  I usually like to keep everything very simple - I don’t think I can pull off too many pieces at once and am envious of the women who do it flawlessly- but when I do put a few things on I like to mix it up.  I have some lovely vintage pieces of my grandmother’s that I wear with my engagement/wedding ring and earrings from my collections.  

"Fifteen" - large emerald cut aquamarine pendant, 40ct., $440.

8.  Layering seems to be a trend that is here to stay, for now. What are your feelings on the layered look?  How do you like layered necklaces with layered bracelets plus layered rings? 
For me, I try to keep the pieces very simple and will layer tiny diamond drop necklaces with my initial necklace and one more simple chain. 

"Twenty Five" - wrapped initials that hang in a cluster grouping, (price is for three initials, $160.

9.  What advice would you give to budding jewelry designers? To budding fine jewelry collectors?
To designers, I would say make mistakes!  Many of the designs I love the most have come from a sketch or an idea that I thought would turn out one way but ended up completely different.  And you want to have a certain feel and aesthetic that carries through all of your pieces and collections.  So find something you love as the inspiration for your work.  

For collectors, I would say something similar - find what you love.  Because if you do, your collection will end up being a reflection of the facets of your personality. And you will be happy wearing every piece.

Flash Question - Dream trip destination?
Florence, Italy

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