October 01, 2015

Meet Emily Jane

Hi, I’m Emily.

I wear a lot of different hats – jewelry lover, Pinterest crafter and baker, wife of a biophysicist (my high school sweetheart), mother of a toddler and a preschooler, world traveler, loyal friend.  I have a master’s degree in neuroscience and behavior, and I studied computer science, but I have never enjoyed any job as much as I enjoy creating jewelry for Emily Jane Designs.  The path my life has taken was unexpected – but it fits.


I love working with my hands and making something that is both beautiful and tangible.  And I have a knack for figuring out better ways to do things.  What can I say?  Debugging computer programs was one of my favorite things to do in college, because making something work right is so gratifying to me.  Now I use a lot of those same skills – like being precise and meticulous or experimenting to solve problems – to make the best jewelry that I can for Emily Jane Designs.

So how did I actually become a jewelry designer and small business owner?  It all started in 2007 when I moved to Israel with my husband for his postdoctoral study at the Weizmann Institute of Science.  With no work visa, I tried volunteering as a scientist but found myself with way too much extra time on my hands.  I cooked until I got fat (no, really!), then I decided it was time to find another hobby.  So, I signed up for some jewelry classes with a friend.  I figured that since I enjoy wearing jewelry so much, it might be fun to try my hand at making it.  My classes in Israel focused on things like bead weaving and crocheting silver.  

Soon I found myself with a small stockpile of jewelry – more than I could ever wear.  I had discovered a new website called Etsy (while searching for a place to buy vegan cupcakes, but that’s another story).  On July 4, 2008, I opened my Etsy shop and began to sell some of my jewelry online.  About that time, we began making plans to move to California.  

I wanted to experiment with more jewelry techniques, and being in the U.S. gave me more opportunities to buy different types of equipment.  Since I love sterling silver jewelry, I felt drawn to the art of smithing, which led to me teaching myself to solder by watching YouTube videos.  I mean, why not?  Then I purchased a hand-stamping kit and expanded my Etsy merchandise to include soldered rings and hand-stamped necklaces.  

By this time, we were living near L.A., and the job market was just terrible.  I was temping for extra money but not really enjoying the work.  In a case of perfect timing, my hand-stamped items were becoming really popular, so I decided to quit my job and try making jewelry full-time.

As my orders increased, hand-stamping – which can be both time-consuming and inexact – became more and more impractical.  Then, in the spring of 2013, my daughter was born.  I wanted to create a personal keepsake for her, so I bought a chemical etching kit (a cheaper predecessor to engraving).  

Chemical etching let me transfer designs onto jewelry.  The process can be a little complicated, but I had done something similar in college while making circuit boards, so I wasn’t too intimidated.  In the end, I loved the results, and everyone else did, too!  My shop was one of the very first on Etsy to offer jewelry personalized with handwriting.

Things were going so well that by the end of that summer, I had purchased my first engraving machine.   Now I have three engraving machines and two offices – one in the LA area and one in the Boston area.  I continue to specialize mostly in custom-made jewelry because I love the idea of jewelry that has lasting meaning.  And, hey, who doesn’t like something that was made to their tastes?  (Don’t even get my husband started on my preference for special orders every time we eat out…)

If you are looking for jewelry that is more than just jewelry, I hope you enjoy my creations!