It’s not often that I meet an artist who says they truly make their product from scratch. Especially in the jewelry business, most artists manage to make beautiful accessories by pulling together different pre-bought elements, which still creates a lovely product. But Melissa Giglio from January Jewelry is about hand-made from the very beginning–and as a trained metal-smith, she has the skills to do just that.
Melissa graduated from East Carolina University and spent five years teaching art, but she kept thinking back to the classes she took during college that introduced her to different crafts. She loves working with her hands, whether it’s woodworking, tinkering, or experimenting with different elements. Melissa has a bright, energetic personality, and somehow I imagine she’s the kind of person who never sits still for long.
Which is why, when Melissa and her husband moved to Columbia, SC in the middle of a school year, Melissa took the plunge to step away from teaching and begin her jewelry making business full-throttle. Melissa knew right off the bat that she wanted to make every component of her creations–an ambitious goal, but one that she’s executed brilliantly. Every part of Melissa’s jewelry–yes, even the delicate necklace chains–are made by hand.
It was such a pleasure to speak with a maker who’s not just an artist, but an expert in her craft. The process of metalworking is labor-intensive but fascinating, and Melissa executes each stage with finesse–from drawing the designs on sheet metal, cutting out the design, sanding the edges smooth, soldering the piece, cleaning the metal, then finishing with special polishes or patinas.
The pieces you’ll find at January Jewelry are distinctive in style. Melissa is drawn to materials that reflect nature as well as sophistication; the turquoise featured in many of her pieces come from top-quality lapidary artists from Arizona and New Mexico, ethically sourced and 100% unique. Melissa’s jewelry is both feminine and rustic, romantic and full of character.
Even though she’s a full-time jewelry artist now, Melissa still has the heart of a teacher, and she loves sharing the metalworking process on her Instagram. It’s a treat to see a product formed from start to finish, and Melissa has an eye for detail and tremendous design talent. Follow her on Instagram (@januaryjewelry), explore her website, or order a stunning hand-made piece from her Etsy shop!