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Meet the Aide-mémoire Jewelry Team May 09 2019

Minimal Solitaire Engagement Ring, Three Stone Engagement Ring, Moissanite Solitaire Ring, Moissanite Engagement Ring

 

Aide-mémoire Jewelry is an all-inclusive, queer woman-owned small business in Seattle, Washington. Meet our team!

Aran Galligan of Aide-mémoire Jewelry

Aran – owner, designer, photographer, shipping manager, CEO, web designer...

If you've purchased a piece from Aide-mémoire, Aran has had a hand in process, whether that be in the design, production, shipping, or another of her many roles as the business owner.

What does a normal workday look like for you?

Aran: As soon as I wake up in the morning, I make a cup of tea and start working from home. Sometimes that means photographing finished pieces, editing photographs, answering emails, ordering materials. Usually around noon, I run errands then go into the studio. Once there, I meet with Alaina and June to talk about what's going on. Then I work on designs, meet with customers, meet with vendors, and do all the million and one random things that are part of running a business. Some days I'll work as late as 11:00pm, and some days I'll stop as early as 3:00pm. It just depends on my to do list and if I'm feeling inspired. If I'm feeling inspired, I love working late after everyone is gone.

What do you listen to while you work?

Depends on my mood. I go through NPR phases, audiobook phases, music phases, and podcast phases. I also like to play the beginning of Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show and Seth Meyers every day. It's usually on in the background, then I typically turn it off when they get to the guests. I just like to hear them make fun of the news.

Favorite snack while you work?

Chocolate for sure! Then I like to have a banana with almond butter at 4:00pm (aka banana break).

What got you interested in working with jewelry?

I started in metals making larger scale functional work and sculptural work. But it's always been my dream to make a living selling things I create. When I was doing the Core Fellowship Program at Penland School of Crafts I realized that jewelry was easier to sell than lamps and belt buckles. Plus I love collecting jewelry and really appreciate the way that jewelry becomes imbued with meaning and memories, so I transitioned from big metal to small metal.

Do you have a personal favorite piece of jewelry?

Oh my gosh, so many. Too many to pick just one. I have a large collection of unique earrings that I buy from different artists when I travel, or I'm at a jewelry show, or craft school. I go through phases where I'll wear one pair everyday for a while then switch it up. No, I guess I'm too mercurial to have a favorite piece.

Do you have a particular favorite Aide-mémoire project that you’ve worked on?

I think all the ones where we get to work with family heirloom diamonds are my favorite. I just love hearing the stories about where the diamonds came from, checking them out under the microscope to see their unique cuts and characteristics, then giving them new life so that they will be worn everyday again. That's why I love making wedding bands – they are worn every day.

What do you like most about working for/owning a small business?

I love the flexibility and the ability to be self-directed. I'm a very driven person, and I always struggled in jobs where I wasn't given enough freedom to utilize my abilities. I like how each day is a little different and I can follow my passions. I'm also not a morning person, which is why I don't usually leave the house until noon-ish. 12-8pm is when I'm at my peak. I need mornings to myself. I will start working earlier, but I just need alone time while my brain to gets up to speed.  

White gold wedding band set by Aide-mémoire Jewelry Yellow Gold Textured Wedding Band set — Aide-mémoire Jewelry

Alaina of Aide-mémoire Jewelry

Alaina – customer service & studio coordinator

If you call or email the shop, there's a good chance it's Alaina you're talking with. Alaina is the studio coordinator, our customer service super star, and occasional hand model.

What does a normal workday look like for you?

Alaina: A big cup of coffee to start my day once I get in to the studio while I sort through the emails that have come in. Depending on what my inbox looks like, after that I’ll work on projects, put together estimates, do some photography, ship orders… Every day is a different combination of activities, and I really like that.

What do you listen to while you work?

It depends on my mood and what I’m doing! I don’t listen to anything if I’m writing emails (can’t focus), but if I’m working on photography or shipping orders, I’ll listen to music or sometimes a podcast (though I put earbuds in and forget to turn any music on a lot of the time).

Favorite snack while you work?

Pretzels and/or a cup of mint-y green tea in the afternoon. I’m so terrible about starting a cup of tea and promptly forgetting it in the kitchen that June got me a tea-timer as a holiday gift last year. I still forget my tea, just a little bit less frequently.

What got you interested in working with jewelry?

I took a material science class in high school where we spent two weeks carving our own wax model for a ring, which was then cast and finished. Several years later, I melted that piece down and recast it as something else, but I've been crazy about the process ever since then. There's something about creating an object, an actual thing with my hands that is so insanely gratifying to me.

I also love and really appreciate the heirloom aspect of jewelry, that it’s something that’s worn and cared for and passed down, and all of the sentimentality behind it. I don't own any pieces of heirloom jewelry, but it's something I hope to be able to pass on someday.

Do you have a personal favorite piece of jewelry?

I’m quite partial to my engagement ring, but, besides that, I think that my favorite piece changes on a regular basis. Right now, my favorite piece that I wear daily is my 2mm Bump Ring, which has a little champagne diamond set in it.

Do you have a particular favorite Aide-mémoire project that you’ve worked on?

There’s so many that I could never choose—I think part of it, for me, is that some of my favorite projects/pieces are also tied up in remembering just how lovely the couple or customer was to work with—but a couple of standouts are this customized Ancient Band, a project we did back in 2017 where we re-set a number of heirloom diamonds from a customer's mother's wedding band set into eleven new pieces of jewelry (!!) to pass on to her family members, and this sapphire engagement ring.

What do you like most about working for a small business?

I love how closely I get to work with our customers! It makes my day—everyone’s day, really—to receive an email from a customer with pictures of them wearing their ring and to know that I had a hand in making that happen. 

Hammer Texture Mens Wedding Band by Aide-mémoire Jewelry Montana Sapphire Solitaire Engagement Ring by Aide-mémoire Jewelry 

June of Aide-mémoire Jewelry

June – bench jeweler

If you order a piece of jewelry from us, it’s likely that June will work on it.

What does a normal workday look like for you?

June: First thing is a giant cup of decaf coffee! Then looking through and sorting my projects for the day. Some days I work on wedding bands all day, but the exciting days are when there’s lots of stone setting for me to do!

What do you listen to while you work?

Lots and lots of podcasts, audiobooks and music.

Favorite snack while you work?

Decaf in the morning and cup after cup of genmaicha tea in the afternoon!

What got you interested in working with jewelry?

The permanence of it, I think. I got really interested in rings and their meanings and values, and I love how something so small and so convenient can be treasured and passed down through generations. Since I’d been thinking so much about rings, I took a beginning ring making class and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Do you have a personal favorite piece of jewelry?

I’d have to say my grandmothers wedding band. A rose gold ring that said in relief all the way around “from Nat to Muriel 1934”. I believe the set (his said “from Muriel to Nat 1934” cost them only $13. I’ve been bugging my mom for years to lend it to me so I could have it molded and cast one for myself, but she recently lost it before I could. Still getting over that one.  

Do you have a particular favorite Aide-mémoire project that you’ve worked on?

Still thinking about that salt and pepper rose cut diamond in the 6 prong setting, that giant pink sapphire from a few weeks ago (droooooool). Oh, and that red wine colored sapphire was so beautiful, and of course the customer owned green/yellow/blue oval sapphire that I set this week. I’ll never forget that one. I keep videos of them all on my phone so I can re-visit. Also that three stone prong setting with the 3 blue sapphires!

What do you like most about working for a small business?

I love that everything Aide-Memoire makes is ethically sourced and eco friendly. I love that it’s woman owned and goes out of its way to cater to a diverse customer base. And of course the relaxed non corporate vibe.

See some pictures of June in action below!

 June of Aide-mémoire Jewelry

June at work behind the bench.

June of Aide-mémoire Jewelry

Soldering our Small Padlock Pendant.

June of Aide-mémoire Jewelry

Stone setting work a customized Basket Solitaire Engagement Ring.


The Dandelion Pendant April 10 2019

Dandelion Pendant

The dandelion is a symbol of healing, survival and overcoming emotional hardship.

As someone who has battled depression over the years, I know that I am not alone in this, but at times it sure can feel that way. That is why I created the Dandelion Pendant. I wanted to make a piece of jewelry that you could give to someone who has been going through a hard time. Something they could wear everyday to remind them that they are loved and they are not alone.

Dandelion Pendant

And because the dandelion can survive through rough conditions, I felt it was also the perfect symbol for someone who has come out of the other side of hardship. This necklace can be a celebration of your overcoming challenges, and a reminder of your strength and perseverance.  

Dandelion Pendant

Also, 10% of the proceeds from the Dandelion Pendant go to the Black Women's Health Imperative and Black Mamas Matter Alliance (5% each). “Black Mamas Matter Alliance is a Black women-led cross-sectoral alliance. [They] center Black mamas to advocate, drive research, build power, and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights, and justice.” and the Black Women’s Health Imperative has, “been the only national organization dedicated solely to improving the health and wellness of our nation’s 21 million Black women and girls – physically, emotionally and financially.”

Dandelion Pendant

Dandelion Pendant

I chose these two organizations in part to help raise awareness about the black maternal health crisis that is happening in the United States. As Sister’s Keeper reports on the CDC’s findings, “Nationally, Black babies die at over 2 times the rate of white babies, and Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy related causes than white women. In places like New York City, Black women are 12 times more likely than white women to die of pregnancy related causes. These trends are present across class lines.” And from this in depth article in the NYTimes, “a black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.”

As reported by the Root, “The potential causes are numerous, including lack of access to health care and attention and prenatal resources to disenfranchised and disproportionately of color communities, a lack of attention given to health concerns expressed by black women, and even psychological stress and PTSD caused by racism.”

Please consider donating to an organization working to address this issue or other issues affecting BIPOC. Below are a few suggestions, but before giving money to any organization, I encourage you to do your own research.

Black Women's Health Imperative

Black Mamas Matter Alliance

National Birth Equity Collaborative

Sister’s Keeper Collective

Birthmark Doulas

Mother Health International


New Earring & Necklace Styles Now Available! June 14 2017

We're so excited to share our latest project—we now have a wider selection of earrings and necklaces available with only a four week lead time! All styles are available in matte 14k yellow gold, with conflict-free diamonds or fair trade black spinel.

3mm Diamond Ancient Earrings

Square Stud Earrings Hexagon Stud Earrings

Diamond Scatter Ancient Pendant

Large Padlock Earrings Small Padlock Necklace

Diamond Half Hoop Earrings

You can find the necklaces here and the earrings here.


Handmade & Sustainable Walnut Ring Boxes: Now Available! December 20 2016

Looking to make your ring gift extra special? We're very excited to offer these new handmade walnut ring boxes! These boxes are handmade in small batches in New Zealand with wood sourced from sustainable, managed forests, and they make a beautiful keepsake for both weddings and proposals.

Available for purchase here.

Handmade & Eco-friendly Walnut Ring Box Handmade & Eco-friendly Walnut Ring BoxHandmade & Eco-friendly Walnut Ring Box
Handmade & Eco-friendly Walnut Ring Box

New Minimal Stud Earring Styles Available November 24 2015

Exciting news here at Aide-mémoire Jewelry! We now have a limited selection of earrings available with only a 3 week lead time! These earrings come in 14k Yellow Gold or 14k White Gold settings, and Moissanites or Diamonds. You can find the earrings here.

 


Human Rights Campaign Silent Auction 2014 August 15 2014

These lovely silver and diamond engagement rings will be included in the silent auction at the eighteenth annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington, DC. The dinner is sold out, but you can bid on them online here

"The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all."