Editor’s note: Made in Tarrant is an occasional Q&A series on small businesses started in Tarrant County. Submit your business here.
Megan Thorne is the founder of Megan Thorne Fine Jewels, which started in 2007. The store is at 120 St. Louis Ave. Suite 141, in Fort Worth’s South Main Village. Thorne has her own in-house line of fine jewelry that uses recycled and reclaimed materials. She also creates custom pieces.
Megan Thorne shares her story and creative process with the Fort Worth Report. This interview has been edited for length, clarity and grammar.
SANDRA SADEK: How did you get into fine jewelry making? Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
MEGAN THORNE: As with most careers, there was a little bit of happenstance and serendipity. I always knew that I would be an artist or designer in some medium. My grandmother’s an artist. I grew up making and painting ceramics — all of that was part of my childhood.
I actually studied apparel design, and I worked briefly in the fashion industry as an assistant designer for a lingerie company right when I got out of college. But I had taken a metalsmithing class just for fun, and I could not get it out of my head.
After seeing and learning and experiencing some things from my first career as an assistant designer, I saw how they produced, how they went to trade shows — just how you would run a small company. I thought “Hey, I can do that for myself,” so I went back to jewelry school to learn how to make jewelry.
SADEK: Tell me more about your in-house line and the creative process behind it.
THORNE: The root of everything we do here is actually my love of clothing and fashion. Studying apparel design, you focus a lot on construction but also on time periods and design details that are prevalent within a certain time and make that clothing identifiable.
Translating that into jewelry, there are all these elements that I like, individual features (that make our designs unique). It took a few years of working and trial and error, trying out things to sort of have everything coalesce into the look we have now, which I think references historical styles. It references the traditional metalsmithing profession, and it’s really respectful of the artisans that came before.
Fine jewelry is obviously an investment in materials that you’ll have for the rest of your life, and my greatest hope is that they’ll be passed on.
SADEK: You’ve been working in this industry for 15 years. You mentioned you also do custom pieces. Do you have a favorite item you’ve made?
THORNE: I think anything with a family stone. … Anyone who has the honor of carrying on something that was given to them by a loved one. It’s so cool to be part of that process. We get a lot of girls that have their grandmother’s stones, or their mother’s stones, and it just underscores everything with an extra layer of sentimentality.
SADEK: Anything else you’d like to share?
THORNE: My collection is carried in a lot of really cool places. We work with stores in Canada and Japan, we have awesome boutiques that carry our work in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Indianapolis, San Francisco, etc. So, while we are a local brand and our production studio is based here, many of our clients are national or international. I worked with stores before I ever set up a formal studio locally, creating pieces in my garage for years.
Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ssadek19.
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