For Seattle-based designer and metalsmith Rebekah Jaramillo, jewelry making is equal parts craftsmanship and catharsis. Since 2005, she has expressed her creative obstacles through delicate brass and silver demi-fine and 14-karat gold pieces for her jewelry line Rebekah J. Designs. Now, her newest collection, CHOSEN charts her greatest challenge yet: pursuing her independent jewelry line full time.
“I didn’t necessarily know where I was beginning, but when the collection was complete, I realized that I had explored deeper thoughts within myself,” says Jaramillo, who has built her brand while working a part-time job and raising her daughter.
First debuted at the NY Now trade show this past February, CHOSEN features 24 hand-sculpted brass pendants, organically shaped rings, and textured earrings that represent the immense support she has received throughout her career evolution. Gentle, a miniature nugget-shaped charm necklace, signifies warmth and nurturing in times of growth, and Push and Pull, two pairs of handcrafted hoop earrings, represent giving herself space and honor. “Even though pushing and pulling doesn’t sound like the most positive thing, it’s something that exists in change,” she says. “It’s that ability to be pulled and also to push back to create what you need for yourself.”
Inspired by the love Jaramillo felt while creating CHOSEN, the collection took design notes from Gustav Klimt’s early 20th-century painting The Kiss, which depicts a man and a woman engulfed in the other’s embrace. “When I was drawing in my sketchbook, I kept making these little hatch marks in different ways,” she says. “At one point I was like, this reminds me of Gustav Klimpt’s The Kiss! Then, the floodgates opened. It became apparent why I had been drawing hatch marks, faces, and different hands. It was about this change and taking this leap of faith.”
Throughout the collection, charms of abstract female faces dangle on brass and silver chains, and tiny circles are engraved into rings through a lost cast wax molding process that Jaramillo does by hand, leaving marks of her fingerprints behind. “I love being able to see a maker’s hand in the work, versus something that’s super high-polished,” she says. “To me, it adds a lot of value.”
To celebrate CHOSEN’s official release on March 21, Rebekah J. Designs is hosting a launch party at Pioneer Square, Seattle boutique Velouria from 12-4 pm. There, shoppers can purchase the collection in-person, enjoy light refreshments and bubbles, enter a giveaway, and learn the meaning behind each piece from Jaramillo herself. “A lot of jewelers make pieces that tell their own story, but what I appreciate about myself is that I’m telling a really relatable story,” she says. “I love being able to connect myself and my story to these pieces. It’s also a tool for me to communicate with the wearer, and for them to connect that piece to their own lives is so valuable.”