what is my favorite aspect of blogging? without a doubt, it’s the women i meet along the way. readers that stop by to share their thoughts, fellow bloggers that flung themselves into the blogosphere like me, pr reps that make collabs fun and easy, and female entrepreneurs that are staking a claim in the business world. like Jill Maurer CEO of Jill Maurer. inspired by archaeological digs, Jill Maurer designs jewelry not for men or women, but for the human form. inside her Raleigh, NC studio, Jill puts a modern lens on ancient shapes and images that seek to revitalize our inner desire to connect with our past.
i first crossed paths with Jill on YouTube and immediately felt a kinship with this hard working woman. first, she is so darn funny. but i love the thoughtful insights she shares on a wide range of topics like Rethinking Ginger or Mary Ann or 5 Well Designed Animals. and, it appears Jill likes cocktails as much as i do because she shared 6 Easy Vodka Cocktail Recipes. but How I Spent Eclipse Day is one of my all-time favorite videos that’s a prime example of Jill’s wit and creativity.
so without further adieu let’s find out what makes Jill tick.
Jill, are you over or under the age of 40? over
Take us through the design process for one piece of jewelry.
I start with an inspiration, for example, the prehistoric drawings in the Lascaux cave, and I will read everything I can about it and view all of the photos that I can find. After my mind is saturated in it, I’ll close my computer and books and think about everything I’ve seen and read: colors, textures, lines, weight. The goal is to evoke the spirit of the cave, not to exactly replicate it. Then I start drawing. Sometimes I’ll even cut out forms and play with them placing actual gems on the cutouts. I edit and re-edit until I’m happy with the design.
From there I work with a CAD expert to scan my drawings and create 3D models. The beauty of CAD is that we can 3D print and edit until we get everything just the way we want it. I can even place gems in the printout and wear the print out to make sure I like the way it looks and feels.
Next is finding the right craftspeople to create the piece in gold or silver. I’m fortunate to be able to work with some of the best goldsmiths, gem cutters, and gem setters in the industry.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
The best advice I ever received was from a man I’ve never met and had been dead for over 30 years. After selling my shares in the software company I co-founded, I wasn’t sure what to do with my life. I felt a lot of pressure to do something that would make a positive difference. I knew that I had always loved jewelry but didn’t see how making jewelry could have a positive impact on the world. I felt paralyzed. Here is what Howard Thurman said: “Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
I suddenly realized that designing jewelry wouldn’t make the world a better place, I would. And I would do that in part through my love of designing jewelry. I didn’t need to know what that would look like exactly. I could just trust that it would happen.
Everyone has to start somewhere. What was your first job?
I was Santa’s helper in the mall. I would greet the child asking his or her name then turn to Santa and say something like, “Santa look how much Johnny has grown this year!” so that Santa would never need to ask the child’s name. Then I would snap the photo, and two weeks later Johnny’s parents would receive it in the mail.
How do you feel when people interpret your jewelry?
I’m always excited. Design is a conversation. I know the story and inspiration behind each piece that I’ve created, and the wearer is free to tap their own life experience to interpret it in their own way. A wonderful part of the experience of wearing jewelry is how it makes you feel and the memories it evokes. One woman bought a stack of my Vertebrae rings as a celebration of becoming a physician. She asked whether I had created them for physicians. Not at all, but I love that she feels a connection with them!Ocean, lake, or pool?
Ocean, lake or pool?
Ocean. I love how dynamic it is: the breeze, the movement of the waves, the tide. I lived on the beach for an entire year, and it’s amazing how much it changes day to day.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by archaeological finds. Every person on the planet can look at an archaeological dig and say, “Those are my ancestors.” They remind us of our connection with the earth and with each other. They give me hope we can one day break down these artificial barriers we’ve constructed between us over time.
What do you think of first impressions?
When it comes to jewelry first impressions are everything. When you feel a click of connection with a piece that is the piece for you. Second guessing yourself by talking yourself in or out of a piece can lead you astray. The most common thing I’ve seen people do is talk themselves into the “safe” piece rather than giving themselves the freedom to choose the piece that really speaks to them. If a piece truly suits you, it will never go out of style because you will never go out of style.
How did you decide to start your own company?
I started my first business at 16 and my first official company right out of college while also holding down a job. I quit that job after 3 years and have never looked back. Having my own company is what feels natural to me.
What 3 words describe your current life?
Inspired, Joyful, Adventure
thank you, Jill, for taking time from your busy schedule to stop by the blog. ladies, Jill is offering 15% off with code BETH15 on JillMaurer.com. don’t forget to stop by her online store. and let her know i sent you.