Once upon a time, there was a little girl who drew mermaids and unicorns on every surface. She grew up talking to fairies in the woods and dragons on the playground, and if these existed only in her imagination, who was to say they weren’t real? They were to her. This little girl spent her time drawing and painting and most of all, traveling to magical realms through her beloved books. One day, she left home and traveled 3000 miles away to school, and while she was there, her mother died. And the girl was very sad. So she decided to travel even further away, to the opposite end of the world, to see what she could find. In an enchanted land called Italy, she found a deep passion for working metals, and she found herself. But not yet finished, the girl returned across the sea and found a shaman who taught her to tell stories like the ones she used to read. When she came home at last, the girl gathered all she had learned and began to work silver and gold into stories. And when the woman at last looked up, she found she had made the magical kingdom she had once read about… and she went out to share that gift with the world.
I have always loved art. I thank my dad for this, who ~ despite being a mathematician ~ populated our home with beautiful Art Nouveau prints and always hung my art on the wall, too. In 2004, I traveled to Florence to study art, and in a darkened movie theater watching “The Return of the King” in Italian, I saw Arwen appear in the most beautiful crown I had ever seen, and I realized, “I COULD MAKE THAT.” In that moment, I knew I wanted to be a jeweler. I threw myself into my metalsmithing classes with a furious passion: I showed up before class, stayed after class, snuck into other student’s classes, and was eventually awarded an apprenticeship from sheer persistence. I trained with the master goldsmith for nearly a year, and returned home to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Williams College. Afterwards, I continued my apprenticeship with Cherokee shaman and silversmith Heyoka Merrifield, who helped me understand the importance of stories and the sacred. With his encouragement, I founded Kelly Morgen Jewelry in 2005 from a wooden bench in my dad’s garage. Now, almost ten years later, I have my own studio, galleries across the country, and most importantly, an exact replica of that Arwen crown! I am blessed that I can create what I love, and that so many people find meaning and joy in the stories my jewelry tells.