Jewelry-making for Rachel Quinn is about her gut and her heart. It’s about following her instincts. She loves words and writes her favorites in a book that serves as one source of inspiration. Human emotions are another. Love and heartbreak are big influencers. “I love the broken parts of people,” she says. “There’s such beauty there.”
Rachel Quinn’s first love was painting, sort of. “Painting was always a struggle for me, even after I finished my BFA and moved to New York City,” she says. She stuck with it for two years, then decided the struggle wasn’t for her. She landed a part-time job with a jewelry artist in Brooklyn.
“I’d go with her to trade shows and wander around, looking at other artists and opening my mind to contemporary jewelry.” She started imagining herself as a jewelry artist and enrolled in a 2-year program at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
“I was working part-time for the jeweler in Brooklyn, bartending to pay the rent, and going to school full-time. Finally, creativity wasn’t a struggle. I absolutely love my work! My creations are my precious, small, little joys.”
Rachel infuses her work with a level of theatre. “I want action, a story line, like an arrow going through the heart, or pins sticking into a heart-shaped pin cushion. Weather has energy – I love storm clouds!”
Rachel initially worked in silver and 14k gold. She still works with silver, but lately she’s drawn to higher-karat gold and gemstones. She loves the way a rich, buttery gold enhances a gemstone. She likes to shake things up. “I change the way pearls are typically used in jewelry by adding theatre, like pin cushions. The needles give another dimension to the heart.” She loves whimsy. She’s addicted to playfulness.
Customers love her jewelry because it’s unique and conveys emotions they can relate to. Break-ups, falling in love, falling out of love and meeting someone new are all fodder for Rachel’s creations.
“Creativity is this wonderful journey I take with each piece, from inspiration to sketch book to sitting at the bench,” she explains. “There’s life and a part of me in every piece. Making jewelry is a partnership (between me and the material). Sometimes the material doesn’t want to be what I want to create. If I yield to the material, cool things happen. The piece becomes so much more than what I had imagined.”
Six years ago, tired of the cold and snow in the Northeast, Rachel rode her motorcycle cross-country and relocated to Los Angeles, where she’s in love with the landscapes and the weather. She recently set up her studio in the jewelry district in downtown LA. “It’s like a cockpit,” she says, describing her new space. “200 square feet, and just me” — with room to grow.
Rachel Quinn Jewelry starts at $200 and runs as high as $6,000. Her sweet spot ranges from $600 - $1,800. She’s intentional about making some pieces at entry level pricing. “This is fine jewelry designed and made by a trained bench jeweler and goldsmith. I want to make original pieces available to most everyone.”
Rachel is over the moon about what she does, and it shows. “Jewelry defines me and my life. It’s all I do these days,” she says. “It’s been a journey of hard work to get where I am. I take nothing for granted. I’m filled with gratitude and excited for the future.”
You can find curated pieces of Rachel Quinn Jewelry at KMJ Denver and at KMJ Aspen.