Contemporary designs focus on impact - both environmental and fashion. This necklace from the Melissa Joy Manning Mixed Metals collection offers a sleek and modern look through the use of recycled metal.
Joyful. Spiritual. Unique. Empowering. These are words that describe both the designer and her jewelry. Since the inception of her first line in 1997, Melissa Joy Manning has created a collection of unusual, modern designs that transcend stylistic trends and attract a loyal following.
"I like to challenge the ideals of traditional jewelry by blending conventional materials to create neoteric pieces," says the designer. "I believe in the permanence of the piece, and one of my greatest inspirations is in knowing that people will treasure their jewelry, hopefully for generations."
Melissa links the modern with the traditional whenever possible. Her unique expression is clearly influenced by her passion for travel, art and culture. Melissa studied traditional silversmithing at the Instituto de Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and European design principles at the University of Barcelona. Prior to studying abroad, Melissa majored in art history at the University of California, San Diego, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in jewelry design and sculpture from San Francisco State University.
Nearing 15 years of design, Melissa reflects on the moment she knew this was her calling. Shortly after starting her company in 1997, Melissa was questioning if she should take the risk and dive wholeheartedly into her fledgling jewelry design business. While flipping through TV channels, Melissa stopped at "Just Shoot Me", a sitcom she had heard of but never seen. As she idly watched the program, one of the show's many supermodels sauntered across the screen wearing a Melissa Joy Manning necklace. "It was the ultimate sign; it showed me that the business was meant to be." Melissa says, "I believe everything happens for a reason, and if you pay attention, there are signs everywhere. I've been thankful ever since for having the courage to pursue this, because I love what I do."
In many ways, the San Francisco Bay Area native's career choice seemed fated. Melissa made her first piece in pre-school, a ceramic bead necklace that her mother still treasures. Today, she designs multiple product lines including a custom collection of bridal jewelry. Always moving forward and broadening her creative strokes, Melissa focuses on speaking to the individual rather than the masses. Melissa believes, "My jewelry is not an accessory, but an expression. My pieces aren't about buying into what mass media says you should be, but about finding a piece that speaks to the individuals and echoes their personality. I believe that jewelry can influence the way you feel; it can say and mean something different to every wearer."
Melissa purchases her materials, found worldwide, from only trusted suppliers who share her belief in both social and environmental sustainability. Each piece is handmade to order in her Berkeley, California studio by her in-house production staff. "We are so fortunate to be able to do what we love and make a living through our art. We are immensely grateful that we are blessed with the ability to pursue our passion," Melissa says. SUSTAINABILTY STATEMENT
Melissa Joy Manning is a "green" company, both in ethos and in practice. So much of the beauty of our products is drawn from natural elements. Therefore, it is important to us to respect the earth and nature in our practices and designs. We also seek to recycle products, such as vintage coins and antique African currencies that do not have a practical use, apart from their aesthetic beauty and historical meaning. Instead of disposing of these products, we seek to transform them into something beautiful that can be treasured for years to come.
After passing rigorous tests by the County of Alameda, State of California, we were officially certified as a "green" production facility in 2008.
The metals used in all of our products are treated and refined in an environmentally sensitive manner. Our primary metals supplier has undertaken efforts to ensure that its products do not harm communities, workers or the environment. Their refining processes create up to 75% fewer waste products than standard refining techniques. Their treatment facility removes all harmful materials from water before it is evaporated. No waste water is discharged into the environment without being fully treated beforehand. Their air control system removes harmful particles from furnace exhaust before the air is released back into the environment. Over half of our supplier's gold is purchased from jewelers as post-production scrap and recycled at their refinery. The balance of their gold is purchased from other refineries and mines that adhere to strict guidelines related to impact on the environment and local communities and working conditions.
Community development is also central to our company culture and mission. Melissa Joy Manning jewelry is hand made in our own studio in Berkeley, California by trained metal smiths earning a living, working wage. We manufacture all components of our jewelry in our own studio using only the finest materials purchased from our trusted suppliers. When a customer buys a piece of our jewelry they are contributing to our community; one that offers full benefit and retirement packages, and company matched IRA's. We are proud to have received Special Congressional Recognition for our socially sustainable practices.