Kristen’s Early Jewelry Designs

Kristen Baird

I recently took some time to reflect on my early days at SCAD when I was studying interior design. Fairly early in that process, I realized I enjoyed making things by hand more than sketching and drafting. A friend of mine was taking an Intro to Jewelry Design class and I was immediately jealous of the little toolbox she got to carry around. It looked like she was having so much fun!

I had two electives left, so I decided to use one for jewelry. The moment I walked into the classroom and sat down at the bench, I knew that I loved this. After that very first class, I called my parents and told them I was switching majors. The rest is history!

My SCAD Jewelry Portfolio

I still get a kick out of flipping through my old jewelry portfolio from college. On the surface, these designs don’t look anything like what I’m creating today. But looking a little deeper, I can start to see hints of the inspirations and techniques that came to define my work. 

Here are a few of my favorites!

Squeeze = Splatter

Kristen's Earlier Designs Squeeze Splatter and Ooze

Anyone want to wear a squeezed paint bottle as a necklace? I guess college Kristen sure did! Jokes aside, I’m proud of this creative and experimental design. I used a technique called “sand casting” and “splash casting” to create these falling, cascading shapes. Although different from the methods I would embrace later, I was already focused on capturing movement and a moment frozen in time. 


My first honeycomb piece! I used colored glass to create this hyper-realistic honeycomb ring, where the honey seems to actually ooze and flow. This honeycomb design evolved into my very first signature collection, which featured pieces inspired by a honeycomb pattern. Although this collection has been discontinued, you can still find the occasional special-release honeycomb piece in my galleries and pop-ups. 

Ripple and Gradual Mist

Kristen's Early Designs - Ripple and Gradual Mist

When I tell the story of my first Ripple Ring, I’m usually not talking about this one. I used a completely different technique to create this design, resulting in a very different-looking ring. However, the description of the inspiration behind the piece could easily be something you’d find on my website right now. “Ripple draws from the moment when a still body of water is disturbed by an outside force causing gentle ripples across the surface.” Sound familiar?

Similarly, the Gradual Mist locket was inspired by water, capturing the sensation of a gently falling rain. I love the contrast between the inside and outside of this piece! 

Island Time

Kristen's Early Designs - Island Time and Genie Bottle

This necklace was my first experience using granulation! I used these tiny granule forms to imitate barnacles on a rock at the beach. Today, I use a slightly different method to make my signature granules, but it all started with this funky statement necklace. 

Genie Bottle

Now this is a funny story. During my senior year, a friend at SCAD asked me to make a piece in the shape of a genie bottle as a gift. I did it, and to my great surprise, I found I had stumbled upon a niche. The next thing I knew, unknown people were asking for genie bottle pieces left and right. It turns out that the genie bottle had been posted on an internet subforum and was being shared in several different fandom groups. For a while, this was one of my most popular designs! 

The Genie Bottle was technically my very first commission piece. I learned early on that I love creating pieces in collaboration with others, a passion that I have carried forward to this day. It was also my first foray into online sales, which continues to be a major component of my business. These online forums were the first people to support my work, and I’ll always be grateful to that. However, I never really set out to make genie bottles and as my brand continued to evolve I opted to discontinue the design.

Custom Engagement Rings

After graduating from SCAD, I was eager to take on any project that came my way. Most of my early projects were custom engagement rings. I even designed my own engagement ring during this period.

Creating custom engagement rings was a great way to utilize my skills and stretch my boundaries. Even though I hadn’t quite landed on my brand vision, I look back on many of these designs with a lot of pride and appreciation. Here are a few highlights!

Modern Geometric

Kristen's Early Designs - Modern Geometric

This dazzling ring design featured a combination of gemstones in different cuts and shapes in a modern architectural style. The central princess-cut diamond is flanked by two trillions on either side. A string of petite round diamonds runs down either side of the band. I love this piece because it’s a true forerunner to the way I combine stones of different shapes within a single piece. These days, I’m especially drawn to trillion-cut gemstones, like in my Soaring Songbird ring. Despite the contemporary details, this ring has a timeless, classic quality. 

Heirloom Diamond Honeycomb

Kristen's Early Designs - Heirloom Diamond Honeycomb

An engagement ring using my honeycomb design! In this piece, you can really see the evolution of my honeycomb collection, from something highly realistic to more evocative and architectural. There is still so much I love about this piece, like the asymmetrical balance, the bezel setting,  the platinum, and the colored diamond. I also loved using my own style in a custom piece! 

Whirlpool Ring

Kristen's Early Designs - Whirlpool Ring

I absolutely love this swirling, braided design modeled after a whirlpool or a crashing wave. I created this ring as an anniversary gift for one of my earliest and most loyal clients, and I still love it to this day. The Whirlpool Ring is a precursor to all my signature elements: flowing designs, asymmetrical balance, and a low, wearable profile. Most importantly, it’s inspired by the movement of water.

 Although the central diamond is prong-set, it's mostly flush with the setting, making the piece perfect for everyday wear and comfort. I used a combination of CAD and hand-fabrication to create this piece, a method I still use today. 

Whoo! My style has truly evolved so much over the years. It’s extremely gratifying to look back and see not only how far I’ve come, but also that many of the same passions and inspirations have carried me through from the beginning. 


Here’s to many more years of creativity and discovery!

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