By Jacqueline Stone
Jacqueline Stone is the chief creative officer of her company, Salt + Stone, working primarily with private clients to build custom engagement rings and wedding bands. She can be reached at shine@saltandstone.com.
Jewelry life can change in an instant: a sudden commission, an emergency in the Diamond District. You come to cherish the lulls. 

It’s quiet here right now in the cozy first floor kitchen of the stunning Boerum Hill townhouse where I work as a part-time nanny. The baby I’m taking care of is sleeping, and I’m sipping delicious AeroPress coffee and collecting my thoughts. It’s not even 2 p.m. and I feel like it should be midnight. The hustle of my business is slowly turning into a tidal wave. But I’m learning how to enjoy the ride.

My morning started at 7 a.m. Full weeks of 12-hour days are not for the faint at heart. Eyes barely cracked, I started in bed with phone calls. I call three of my friends each day. If I didn’t, I would be utterly alone in the stampede of my start-up. I left voicemails for Taylor and Barbara and was about to make the next call when a text message from another friend stops me in my tracks: “My sister’s in a coma. Are you with the kids?” 

I spring into action. Amelia is ordered to come over immediately for coffee and hugs. Patty, another friend, comes over with Italian pastries and her dog Bailey. There are many hugs; Amelia sheds tears. I leave them on the couch in my living room and pad down the hall to my home studio. Ten things to do in 45 minutes? I got this.

GIA certs are scanned and sent. The 1.80-carat oval is breathtaking and I’m thrilled that Jake, my private client, fell in love with it as much as I did. I’m hoping the accompanying custom-cut diamond bird is a go. I’ll meet with the diamond cutter tomorrow. I think it’s a nice nod to their love story that’s incorporated into their piece, aptly named “True Love’s Return.”

Bianca broke up with Jake, but a few years later he wore her down for another date. The saying “If you let something go and it comes back to you…,” is definitely a truism in matters of the heart, from what I’ve seen. I find this one especially sweet, as he adores her so.

The list continues: I need to alert Dominick, a custom engagement ring client, that the Diamond District shuts down early on Friday. I can bring by the emerald cuts for him and his girlfriend Tara to cull through, but it’ll have to be early. I am hoping we can make it work. My diamond hunt proved successful, and I found a few stones that lit up my heart. I really want to let them take a look before they’re released back on the exchange. 

Dominick was referred to me by my client Nick. Nick commissioned one of my favorite pieces, “Something Blue.” It featured a stunning 4.52-carat Montana sapphire in the most vibrant hue of blue I’ve ever seen, with just a hint of violet. Nick’s wife definitely sports a show stopper and I’m glad it’s driving new business.

Next is email catch-up then it’s out the door I go. My part-time nanny gig adds some financial stability in light of my uncertain cash flow. Building a business means learning to trust. 

That’s what’s in my mind as I sit here sipping afternoon coffee. I have to believe that jewelry is my path, because I have no other choice; I love it too much--the discipline of drafting, the liberation of color, the ancient forms of metal and stone. I deeply believe that I can live heart first. 

The baby is stirring. When he wakes we’ll be off to grab his elder brother from school and drop him off at Hapkido (similar to karate.) Then I’m released from my child care duties for the day.

I hop on the subway and race the clock. The Diamond District shuts its doors at 5 p.m. sharp. I’m off to visit Paulo, the incredible lapidary who imports rough from his brother’s mine in Brazil and cuts everything by hand in his tiny studio. Last week, he delivered a prehnite mermaid tail. Today I’m grabbing seashells of turquoise and amethyst. His passion and craftsmanship never disappoint. 

If time allows I’ll shoot over to the caster to grab the latest. I need to clean the models and create silicon molds. I have a sneaking suspicion that the stingrays in alloys of silver and gold will be a hit. I’m prepping mass production for the summer collection.

Back on the train again to the home studio grind. Now the day begins. It’s 6:30 p.m. I owe four separate prospective grooms--Jake, Anton, John and Dominick--technical designs for their beloveds’ engagement rings. 

I have to check in with Lana, send notes to Vivian and Hattie, and drop a line to the incredible Marcia Budet, a fellow designer who was named a JCK Rising Star for 2015. 

Lastly, it’s a to-do list for the following day. If I don’t have a map to follow I risk drowning in the chaos. I enjoy the moving variables and the uncertainty of it all. It appeals to my artistic tendencies. However, without an outline my list of deliverables seems to grow. I take my yearly, monthly and daily goals seriously, as do all entrepreneurs.

It’s yet again the end of another 14-hour day, but you’ll hear no complaints. I live for jewelry. It’s my passion, my heart and my purpose. I haven’t met a jeweler yet who doesn’t share that credo. We are a fierce bunch, and I’m so excited to provide an inside look of the lives of small fish in this enormous pond. 

Emerging designers don’t have it easy, but I’ve found that nothing worth having ever is. I can’t wait to highlight the talents of my community. There is so much magic to be shared.

Jacqueline Stone has a background in finance, marketing, advertising, product development, fine jewelry manufacturing, design and sourcing. She currently is the chief creative officer of her company, Salt + Stone, working primarily with private clients to build custom engagement rings and wedding bands. Stone can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





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