Who are the pieces named after?
Each piece is inspired by and named after an important woman in my life. A lot of my designs are inspired by conversations or memories I have with my friends and loved ones, while others are a creation based on the essence of that person, or how they make me feel being around them. Wearing my jewelry is my way to always feel connected to them, whether they are near or far.
What is your process like? How long does it take to make one piece of jewelry?
My process always starts with the inspiration. From there I play around with ideas in my head and start carving my ideas into wax and see what sticks. All of my pieces are created by lost wax casting, using the original carving that I made. Sometimes I post process videos on Instagram for those who are curious. I would say each piece, on average, takes about 12 hours to make.
What materials are used?
Solid 14k Gold is a durable gold that delivers a more subtle gold hue than 18k or 24k. Because it is not as soft as other gold alloys, it is more resistant to every day wear, meaning your beautiful piece will stay looking beautiful longer. Additionally,14k Gold doesn't oxidize, meaning it stays looking polished and fresh! However you can always do an extra polish with a polishing cloth, or a jewelry cleaning solution (or even dish soap) with a soft bristled toothbrush.
Sterling Silver (925) is a hard-wearing metal made up of 92.5% Silver and 7.5% copper. The reason for the added copper alloy is because pure silver (99.9%) is a fairly soft metal, making it less durable for wear. Due to the copper element, Sterling tends to oxidize and tarnish if it goes unworn. The best way to keep your silver beauties sparkling is to wear them! The oils from your skin actually prevent the pieces from oxidizing. Additionally, you can use a polishing cloth to shine up your Sterling silver beauties!
14k Gold Vermeil, pronounced like "VER-MAY," is a fancy way of saying "14k Gold Plated Sterling Silver." Vermeil requires the plated base metal to be a high quality sterling silver as opposed to the traditional brass, nickel, or copper. Vermeil is a great option for someone who loves the look of gold, but doesn't want to pay for the solid gold price tag. Because of the sterling silver base metal and the durability of the 14k Gold, it makes for a gorgeous, high quality piece! However, unlike solid 14k Gold, vermeil pieces should not be worn extensively in water.
How do you price your pieces?
Natalie McMillan Jewelry strives to provide fair and honest pricing on all pieces. Prices are reflective of keeping costs as low as possible, without ever sacrificing quality. Beyond that, Natalie McMillan maintains ethical and sustainable practices, as well as designing and creating every piece of jewelry within the United States. Manufacturing in the US (as opposed to overseas) does bring costs up a bit, but supporting the local and national economy aligns more with Natalie McMillan Jewelry's values, and so we will continue to do so. While fine jewelry is typically retailed close to a 10x retail markup, Natalie McMillan Jewelry gets around that markup by offering pieces direct to consumer. That way, Natalie McMillan customers are able to purchase beautiful, handcrafted, consciously made luxury pieces at a more accessible price point.
How do I know my size?
STEP 1: Close your fingers together, bringing your thumb and little finger together (as if you were putting on a bangle).
STEP 2: Using a strip of paper, string, or tape measure, measure around the closed hand at the widest point, pulling the tape snug against the skin. If you are using a plain strip of paper, mark the paper with a pen, then measure the strip with a ruler. This is the circumference of your hand.
STEP 3: Find the hand circumference on the table below. Choose a bangle size with a diameter at least 1/4" larger than the diameter shown below. If unsure or in-between sizes, we recommend sizing up.
If hand circumference is around 7-8” order petite
If hand circumference is around 8.5" - 9.5" order regular
I recommend using a ring sizer to determine your correct ring size. Because each ring is handmade to order, we don't accept returns or exchanges, so it is best to be sure of your size! If you would like a ring sizer sent to you free of charge, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org