I’ve followed Grace Lee‘s jewelry collection ever since I discovered her incredible lace ring online a few years ago. The ring took me by surprise, something that doesn’t happen that often with jewelry, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I saw it in person a year or so later, at Clare Vivier in Silver Lake – and the reality exceeded my expectations. It actually feels like lace – delicate, but still solid and durable. It’s timeless, simple, and so special.
I’m still waiting for the perfect reason to treat myself to a lace ring (which is made all the more difficult by the new variations coming out – like this lace arch ring Grace instagrammed recently!) but a friend and I bought these black diamond disc bracelets on a girls trip last year and I never take mine off.
Grace was so kind to meet me when I was in LA earlier this year – she’s wonderful, funny, and so thoughtful – and her personality shines through in her incredible work.
HOW DID YOU START GRACE LEE DESIGNS?
I have a finance background, but while pregnant with my daughter, I started to make simple pieces that I wanted but couldn’t find – the whisper ring was created because I wanted an extremely thin ring, but couldn’t find one anywhere. I made mine, and then people started asking me where they could buy them. I put them online, and the business was born… it’s been about six years and the business has grown very naturally over that time.
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR COLLECTION?
I draw on graph paper and then scan. From the computer image, we make metal or rubber molds and then we produce in 14 or 18 karat gold.
WHERE DO YOU PRODUCE YOUR COLLECTION?
All production is done in-house or locally – this allows more control over the process. We’re more nimble because it’s local. It gives me more flexibility. It’s important to me to keep as much of it local for as long as I possibly can. But, it’s hard – labor is a bigger expense than gold! Being local also allows me to do custom work. I get to build and create relationships with my customers that can last a long time.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Life! The Lace Deco rings was inspired by the art deco ceiling at the El Capitan theater and the Sticks and Stones collection was inspired by rocks I saw one day.
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE ESSENTIALS?
Clare V. Handbags, some type of sneakers – I’m really into Stan Smiths right now. A lot of Black Crane, Steven Alan. Hansel from Basel socks, and my jewelry!
WHAT GETS YOU THROUGH THE DAY? THE WEEK?
Lots of dark chocolate!
I love the time I get to spend with my kids – they will do one thing that will just make me crack up and it’s a great reminder that it’s all worth it. As a mom, sometimes you just have to roll with it – that transfers into my business as well.
Thank you, Grace, for meeting with me and for making beautiful jewelry!
Images c/o Grace Lee Designs.