By Ashley Davis
This is one of Leslie Paige’s signatures: a creatively-set solitaire gemstone ring. The 14-karat rose gold and amethyst style sells for $2,400 at retail.
Portland, Ore.—Like a lot of great ventures, designer Leslie Paige McElroy’s fine jewelry line began when she couldn’t find a specific ring she wanted to wear.

“I really just wanted to find a ring that was set with the stone on its side, so you could see the back of the stone as well as the front,” McElroy explained. “When I couldn’t find anything like it, I decided to have the first one made just for me.”

McElroy ended up making two, and before she even picked them up from the jeweler, people had asked to buy them from her.

“From there I continued to design other pieces I basically wanted for myself and found people loved them,” she said.

McElroy is a former pastry chef who had just finished a year of teaching culinary arts at a college when she had the idea for her “Perched Setting Ring,” or her signature design, which sets stones on their edges in a bezel, creating a sort of alternative solitaire ring.

“My inspiration comes from wanting to create something new and different while using classic components, like channel-set baguettes or bezel-set emerald-cut stones. I love geometric shapes and mechanical things, so these thing always end up in my designs. Some of my pieces almost have a machine-like feel to them.”

The most industrial of McElroy’s pieces is a hefty cuff, with two screws topped with her untraditionally-set stones. McElroy plans to make a non-gemstone version for men in the future.

Another of the designer’s signatures are her interlocking square rings and necklaces, which she calls her “Puzzle” series.

McElroy officially launched Leslie Paige in 2016 with a trunk show at Marios—a part of the Mitchell Stores chain—in Portland, Oregon, where she resides.

Now, she’s stocked at Broken English’s range of stores in New York and California, as well as Hot Box Betty in Bend, Oregon.

Describing her design ethos as “a classic twist on a modern design,” McElroy is just beginning to find her voice in her new medium, having left the pastry world behind.

“I always wore very classic jewelry--beautiful, but traditional,” she said. “What I want to wear and create now are small pieces of art, conversation starters and things that prompt intrigue.”

Retail prices for the 14-karat gold, gemstone and diamond line start at $200 for a single earring and reach up to $11,800, though most of the range falls between $2,000 and $6,000.

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