Sophisticated yet friendly

Luxury without pretense

Hip but not trendy

Designer jewelry that is powerful and rare

Women of the Gold Rush Part 1

A jewelry designers hunt

for the Extraordinary Women of history

who through their courage, empowered women of the future

to have opportunity,justice,education,equal rights

and a better life to hand to their children.

I tell their important life stories with what I know, jewelry design.


Where did this idea come from?

This unexpected question about my new inspiration; designing a jewelry collection for extraordinary women of history, has been posed to me dozens of times. Answering it seemed a good way to begin this new blog.


It came out of loss. The loss of my son Wilder devastated my creativity and passion for my work. Grief is a thing that takes the place of every waking and most sleeping moments. Nothing seems to have value or interest anymore-not relationships, not daily life and most certainly not my career of designing jewelry. It was like the very color of my world was suddenly gone and everything was fading into a haze. Unimportant, Insignificant, Small.


No words by friends or family could ease my ache so in February of 2015, as if the city literally spit me out, I drove all night to Colorado see if the the mountains had… Continue reading

Working together large

invitation inside

Fashioning a Future: A Runway Show Benefiting Nepal Disaster Relief

Join us on Sept. 11 with Key North Boutique for a fashion show fundraiser to help earthquake victims in Nepal rebuild their lives.

Proceeds will be donated to AmeriCares’ Nepal Relief Fund which is providing medical supplies and humanitarian aid for families in crisis.

Savvy style expert Grant Whitaker of Whitaker Style will emcee the runway show, with models wearing fashions from Key North Boutique and jewelry from T Lee Custom Designer Jewelry. Fresh from NY Fashion Week, Key North brings you the latest fall collections and we will debut more than 35 new custom made creations, many woven in 24kt and platinum. 

VIP tickets are available for $100, which includes a reserved seat for the runway show, two $50 gift cards (one each from Key North and T Lee), and food and drink. General admission tickets are available for $10. Buy tickets online or call us at 612.789.2656.

5-6pm: VIP preview
6-6:30pm: runway show
6:30-6:45pm: Q&A with Grant Whitaker
6:45-9pm: socializing and shopping

For every $1 donated, AmeriCares provides $20 in aid. Because they deliver donated medicines and medical supplies to a trusted network of locally-based providers, the impact is multiplied many times over to save more lives… Continue reading

The Elevation Cuff – Serious Metal Lust

The redesign of my new shop has kept me so busy for the last year that I have not had a single moment to enter any design contests but when I read about the one that  The Palladium Alliance International, was hosting in its debut year, it was too much to resist.  Most design contests give ample press with trade magazines, ample prestige among your peers and a little prize money but this contest trumped any other, boasting  over a million bucks of prize money!*?!!  Plus the grand prize winner would be awarded a contract to create a line of palladium jewelry and be featured in top fashion magazines.  Hell ya, Im in!!!

This contest was also unique in that it promised to pay back all metal costs (on palladium only of course) to the top finalists.  Its usual for any contest entry Ive ever made to be constructed of  the finest stones,the best metals and most labor intensive techniques so they are always a deep investment. Getting paid back has never been a consideration until the piece gets sold at the consumer level and that takes time. Before this contest came… Continue reading

Snow Daze-A deep rumination on workshops past and present

I’ve spent every single Sunday for the past three months working on some detail or another to get the new shop up and running. Today on the list was the installation of the window gate, staining the jambs on my office doors, and the break room door. Well, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans .A week ago Sunday, “life” for most of us came to a standstill as 10 to 16 inches of snow quietly fell, and fell, and fell.

I was determined to get down to the shop at first. Then I realized that the snow was going to come down for hours and I could easily get stranded. I made the “difficult” to give myself a weekend “snow day” to do some sorely needed house projects. Much has been relegated to the low priority list once the shop build-out began.

Much of what was moved out of the old shop was relocated to my basement. It was difficult to even get to my washing machine so I decided to spend the day organizing that space. One project lead to another and soon I found myself sorting the contents of old boxes that had been… Continue reading

The Ethical Bench:Upcycle Update

My usual approach to nearly every project I’ve ever done in my life has been DIY.  The build out of my new shop is no exception.  I’ve been hands on during each aspect from the space design and working closely with the contractors to sourcing the materials they are working with.  I have high ideals that the materials I choose be sustainable, have high recycled content and made in the USA.  No big surprise since I hold the same standards to the gems and metals that I make my jewelry from when at all possible.  But this week I discovered, in my humble sustainable opinion, what may be even one step better….UPCYCLING!


The goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones.  Old products are given more value by being reused rather than recycled as waste. This reduces the consumption of new raw materials when creating new products. Reducing the use of new raw materials can result in a reduction of energy usage air pollution, water pollution and even greenhouse gas emissions. Upcycling is an even greener way of recycling – you find a new… Continue reading

To Be Content

Wilder left for Portland today. That urge to travel has gripped him hard and with his welding program at Dunwoody starting in January, it’s now or later, so he told me on Wednesday that he was leaving today.

I was sad, I was happy, I was prematurely worried and a little bit envious. But mostly I was just gloriously savoring the total contentment I saw in his face as he packed. He was pursuing the thing he knew made him happy, even if he had no clue what that thing was. He was literally vibrating with it as he gathered his stuff and talked to me about what he needed. I would have made a list…i’m the list making type, but i sensed he just wanted me to be there while he lead. I was in awe of how simply he approached it and how at ease he was with deciding on Wednesday to travel for two months and leaving on Friay. I went to Europe for two months at his age and it took me many months before to feel prepared. He just was in the moment so fully that nothing else mattered but going. His lack of hesitation… Continue reading

The Ethical Bench

Growning the Green Jewelry Movement

I recently sat in on a webinar with Christine Dhein from Revere Academy on green bench practices. She has long been recognized as the go-to person regarding ethical and responsible practices in the jewelry studio.


The six-hour seminar was a wealth of amazing info that I will share over the next few months in my newsletter and blog. For starters, she encouraged us to consider every step of the process — from sourcing materials that are extracted in a responsible way to choosing suppliers that have a traceable, transparent supply chain that we can trust.


She taught us about organizations that support fair trade policies and third-party certification standards that make the suppliers accountable for the methods they use to bring precious metals and gems from mine to market. She also shared links to many articles on ethical jewelry making practices that I will share over the next months as well. But much of what she shared, about what a responsible jewelry studio should practice, we are already doing. It was great affirmation.


What I am most excited about is the collaboration between jewelry industry professionals that want to… Continue reading