Introducing Graceful Glimmer!

Kristen Baird

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since I released my last collection, Bonjour Belle. Since then, life has been a whirlwind. The world has changed dramatically, my business has continued to grow and, oh I had two kids! (Just details, you know.) Throughout this time, though, I’ve kept my eyes and ears open for what my community is looking for in their jewelry, and I’ve been continuing to dream and imagine new directions for my pieces. One theme that has come up again and again is the idea of petite, itty-bitty, and elegant jewelry that can be worn alone or mixed, matched, and stacked for greater creativity and versatility. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…. The Graceful Glimmer Collection!

Graceful Glimmer!

The Origins of Graceful Glimmer

Over the years, I’ve naturally gravitated towards creating “mini” versions of some of my most popular pieces. The Mini Gemstone Ripple Rings (now called Bubbling Brook and Sparkling Stream) and the Mini Splash Gem cuffs immediately come to mind as examples. These items have been quite popular, in part because they work so well in stacks and also because they’re more affordable than the larger pieces, making them great entry points into my collections. Many people have been asking for more mini versions of old favorites, while at the same time some of the smaller treasures on my site have gone overlooked.

So, I started out by pulling together some of these mini pieces, thinking I was going to highlight them in a blog post or newsletter. But then, as it often happens, I started getting inspired. Soon, I was off doodling piles of sketches and rearranging bits and bobs in my studio. There was a sense of energy in my heart, one that was familiar and yet I hadn’t felt in a while. I knew I had a new collection on my hands.

Inspiration leads to new creations

Planning and Preparing

After the initial musings, it was time to get down to business. I knew I wanted this collection to be about self-expression, which means the pieces will be even more customizable than previous collections. Almost everything will be offered in your choice of metal (yellow gold, rose gold, or silver) and with your choice of stone. The new creations are also ideal for mixing, matching, and stacking for potentially endless combinations. I’m also adding pieces inspired by former commissions, such as the Cuff Combo, which inspired the Sandy Breeze bangle. But I’m switching it up: you can now get the Sandy Breeze bangle in your choice of metal and/or add your choice of stone/s as the Sandy Breeze Gem bangle!

A big part of the planning process is also figuring out what story I want to tell. For this collection, it was all about youthful, carefree, and fun style. I kept picturing a young woman in a flowing dress running through the forest, trailing sparkles behind her. Very specific, I know, but this is the stuff that runs through my head! The name Graceful Glimmer emerged after a lot of trial-and-error, wanting to evoke the feeling of a light dusting of sparkle on a field of wildflowers. 

Process of Creation

The Process

While I love a good sketching session, these days, I rarely have time to sit and sketch. Apologies to all my former professors at SCAD! Instead, I really like to make 3D models of my jewelry. I’ll grab bits of silver, jewelry parts laying around the studio, sections of failed experiments, brand new experiments…basically, anything that catches my eye. Then I’ll use wax, clay, and tape to hold it all together. I’ll also pull in gemstones or loose diamonds that I keep lined up on trays. Sometimes, scraps of paper and glue will get involved as well. I’ll say, at times it’s hard to tell if a mad scientist or a kindergartener is working here! But I digress. Every once in a while, this process will remain in place for the actual product, as with the Seashell Speckle necklace, which is made from recycled materials in my studio. Either way, I come out of the modeling phase with concepts for all my new jewelry creations. 

Next comes logistics. It’s one thing to design a single piece of jewelry, but it’s another to make it producible, especially with the amount of customization I want to offer in this collection. I have to consider carefully which items I will need on hand at all times, and which I can acquire later on. Some parts are hand-fabricated in the studio and other pieces are cast from models, called masters. (Fun fact, I make all my masters in silver, because it captures my signature ripple effect best. Then I can use this same master for all the metals.) For earrings, how long are the profiles and will I need stud or dangle components? For cuffs and rings, what sizes should I stock? There’s a lot to think about! 

Making Jewelry In the Studio

Once all that planning work is done, it’s on to molding parts, injecting waxes, casting pieces and ordering components like chains, earring posts, and gemstones. Casting is a very cool and technical process that involves heating metals up to thousands of degrees and shooting them into molds. I work with another family business that helps me get everything cast the old-fashioned “lost wax” way. I did a lot of casting myself back in my SCAD days, so I’m extremely particular about who I work with and making sure the process is done exactly right.

Meanwhile, in the studio I start hand fabricating things that need to be done in-house. I know this is getting a bit technical but, hey, this is how it’s done! Once castings are complete, the raw pieces arrive back in my studio and are hand finished and combined with their hand-fabricated parts. This is all done using traditional crafting methods. Afterwards, the jewelry will sparkle like the stars - and my hands will be covered in grime. Who knew jewelry-making was such a messy business?!

Photo and Video prep

Last but not least: the fun part! Actually, it’s all fun for me. I get to bring photographers in (hello, Paprika Southern) to shoot the new jewelry while I come up with names and descriptions for all my designs. I’m always very specific about the story-telling aspect of my website, so this is actually a huge part of the process for me. I want everyone to be able to visualize what I’m emulating with every piece. Fortunately, I have a little story-telling guru - an actual screenwriter - who helps me tell the tale behind all my jewelry. I’m so lucky to have her to help pull the concepts out of my brain and put them into a written form that actually makes sense. Once all the pieces are named and photographed, I can start getting really excited!

For the petite jewelry lover!Who is Graceful Glimmer For?

Everyone who loves to have fun and play with jewelry! I strive to create pieces that speak to everyone or more particularly everyone who appreciates my organic style and unique voice, and this collection is no exception. The fact that it’s so customizable makes it easy to match your unique style as well. You want subtle and elegant traces of sparkle? Great! You want to wear a bouquet of wild colors? Fantastic! This collection is for you.

All that said, I definitely approached this process with my “petite-loving” clients in mind, which is something I haven’t really done before. Part of the hope with Graceful Glimmer is that people will be able to start small and build their jewelry collection over time. While I’d never refer to my handcrafted jewelry as simple, some of my teeny-tiniest ripple bands are available in this collection. (I’m looking at you Dandelion ring!) They are lovely on their own, but even better in a stack. It’s a great way to express yourself and define your personal style for years to come. 

Graceful Glimmer is HERE

Graceful Glimmer is here!

Y'all, I am so excited to share this new collection. I’ve put so much work and heart into it, and I hope that it shines through. The best part is that I will get to watch all of you take it and run with it from here. Now it’s your chance to be creative and let your inner light shine. 

So without further ado…. Introducing The Graceful Glimmer Collection!

Intro: As the sun sets and the moon rises, the colored light filters through the trees in a luscious forest. The air is crisp and clear. The stars twinkle with an energy only you can see - strong yet quiet. You are weightless, free, and full of light - on the edge of a world in flux, and all its tiny yet radiant secrets are about to be revealed. 

About the Collection: Light, bright, day or night. These fresh, youthful pieces add a touch of natural sparkle to the everyday, like an ethereal dusting of glitter on a starry night. Meandering lines, organic texture, pops of color - capturing and celebrating the magic of a fleeting moment. Stack, layer, mix, and mingle for effortless yet sophisticated fun. Dainty and elegant individual pieces allow you to build your collection over time and evolve your personal style. Get creative, make your statement, and let your inner light shine.  

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