Limited Edition Jewelry For a Steal
With A Rarity, Crown Nine’s Kate Ellen aims to make timeless, limited edition designer jewelry affordable, while giving you a sneak peek into the work behind each piece.
Photos by Eva Kolenko
Kate Ellen was looking for a creative outlet for herself and her jewelry designers. The owner of Oakland’s Crown Nine knew that sometimes, the pressure of making jewelry for major production left little room for experimentation and creativity, and with all the jewelry available in stores and online, it was hard for consumers to choose a piece that would outlast passing trends and styles.
She solved both problems by starting A Rarity, a new line that showcases unique, handmade, limited quantity pieces from various artists, all for less than $150. Think of it as a monthly, almost one-of-a-kind jewelry club that gives designers a chance to do pieces they are passionate about, without all the pressure of mass production.
“It’s kind of like a really fun homework assignment for all of my designers,” says Ellen.
Every month, an artist produces only 10 to 20 rarities, which gives each piece a one-of-a-kind feel. With photographer Eva Kolenko in tow, Ellen also documents each artist’s story, studio, creative process, and more, giving visitors to her website an in-depth look into the process behind each hand-crafted work. During the summer months, there will be two artists producing rarities a month.
“I really wanted to be able to give my customers something really special, unique, and exclusive—something that they could only get through us,” says Ellen. “Jewelry has a really powerful way of connecting and telling stories.”
Ellen created the first piece in the A Rarity collection, using a rare Japanese technique known as Mitsuro. As one of a few people in the United States using this technique, Ellen explains that the ingredients are not easy to find, and the technique is more about experimenting.
“Imagine being a little kid, and playing with warm play-doh that was like taffy and, then would turn to glass when it got cold,” said Ellen.
One of the purposes of the A Rarity collection has always been getting Ellen’s artists similarly inspired to do things that are really special and have a little bit of extra joy and love. But Ellen also enjoys bringing beautiful curated finds to her customers, and hopes people will enjoy the story behind each Rarity as much as she does.
“I like taking that veil off and showing how people make things,” Ellen explains. “I like to connect things, the story telling part, so people know where their pieces are coming from.”
Ellen’s goal is to help those lost by jewelry overload find the perfect piece by introducing women to artist that have quality timeless pieces.
“The cool thing about my shop is that I have quite a different range of jewelry,” Ellen says. “Even if you don’t like one Rarity, there will be another one, so you’ll always have a range of work to look at.”
To find out more about A Rarity and Kate Ellen visit crown-nine.com