New to the shop is Brittanny DeRaffele of SUN & SELENE. With her celestial inspired silver and gold filled pieces now at SHELTER, we caught up with Brittany to chat about her career in jewelry and what continues to inspire her.
How did you get started making jewelry?
While studying fashion and merchandising in college, I picked up a minor in studio art that introduced me to the world of metalsmithing and I fell in love right away. I stayed an extra 2 years at Radford University to finish the metals and jewelry program. After graduating, I knew I wanted to merge my love of fashion and design with jewelry making.
How long have you been in the trade?
I have been practicing metalsmithing and jewelry production since 2008 in school. I have been making jewelry full time since 2016, and it’s been four years that I have been designing and creating inventory and custom jewelry in the SUN & SELENE studio.
What does your business look like now, versus when you started?
When I made the leap to start making jewelry full time, I was originally designing and crafting jewelry in the guest room of my apartment in Richmond, Virginia as a one-woman team. In 2019, I signed the lease to what is now our sun-soaked jewelry production studio and atelier. Two years later, I was able to hire a part-time production assistant to help with inventory and a full time brand manager to alleviate some of the business tasks so that I am able to focus on designing and creating. From the corner of a guest room to now, it has been a whirlwind of growth and it’s so exciting to see how the brand has blossomed. Now, you can find SUN & SELENE gems on the shelves of retailers here in Richmond, VA to DC, New York, and California. We’ve showcased at NYC Jewelry Week and have landed press on NY Mag, BRIDES, JCK Magazine, and The Zoe Report.
What’s your favorite part about being a jewelry designer?
I love seeing how customers connect to pieces and how certain stones and styles speak to them. Sometimes it’s the meaning of a gem itself or the inspiration behind the design that resonates. You can feel with a customer that the piece of jewelry means so much more than just an accessory.
Do you have a favorite piece that you have made?
I had the pleasure of designing my little sister’s wedding set featuring the prettiest peachy-pink morganite set in rose gold paired with a fitted arc diamond band, and it is still my favorite to date — it gives me all of the feels!
Do you have a favorite metal or stone that you prefer to work with?
Gold and moonstone will forever be my favorites! I’ve grown to love the addition of a sparkling white diamond, especially paired with something more subtle like a moonstone or turquoise.