Denver jewelry designer, Kate Maller, recently opened her first brick and mortar, multi-branded store in Denver. Maller — known for her unique jewelry design and sustainable efforts — also welcomed other nationally recognized artists into the store. Together, these designers and artists craft and sell one-of-a-kind jewelry, ceramics, bags, scarves, shawls, candles, oils and cards. Focused on sustainability, these artists ferociously support the environment and social justice and pull inspiration for their designs from such attributes. Here, the extremely talented Kate Maller discussed everything from the jewelry making process to her first-ever men’s jewelry line.
303 Magazine: What prompted you to open a multi-branded jewelry store in the Highlands?
303: What atmosphere and environment can Kate Maller customers expect when walking in the store?
303: In addition to uniquely hand-crafted jewelry, you also feature sustainable goods from talented artists around the country. Can you tell us about how that collaboration between artists evolved?
KM: My dream has always been to have a space where I could not only feature my own work, but also highlight and share the work of other artists that I love and admire. Over the years, I have been fortunate to exhibit at many shows where talented artisans from across the country were also exhibiting. This has allowed me to not only meet many artists I already admired but also discover many new artisans from a variety of disciplines. Having always dreamed of opening my own store, I already had a strong sense for who I would want to carry. This made putting the opening lineup together fairly simple. Many of the artists we carry we also call friends, and so we are extra thrilled to be bringing their work to the area, many of which for the first time.
303: How do you feel your products relate to Colorado residents?
KM: Having lived in Colorado for over 12 years now, it is very much home to me. The landscape, people, weather and general vibe very much resonate with me and have since the first year I moved here from Boston. I know that many of my core beliefs are shared by others in Colorado, as well. My passion for the environment, a high level of craftsmanship, attention to detail, and supporting local artists and small businesses are shared by many others here. Additionally, my Kate Maller Jewelry brand has a strong market and following here in Denver and has enjoyed a great reception in the area since its inception. These factors all lead me to believe that our products and vision will greatly resonate with Colorado residents.
303: Can you explain the process of how you make your jewelry?
303: Do you have a specific theme or aesthetic consistently utilized during the design process or do you have individual and separate inspirations for every collection or piece?
303: Can you tell us a little about how your jewelry brand features sustainable items?
KM: Sustainability is the core guiding principle at Kate Maller Jewelry. All pieces are handcrafted from high quality recycled 22k /18k gold, and recycled Argentium silver. I source not only conflict-free but also fair trade diamonds. Additionally, all of the diamond melee (small accent diamonds) is 100% reclaimed, and nearly all is VS quality (aside from our Radiance collection, which is comprised of salt and pepper reclaimed diamonds). In addition to sustainable material sourcing the brand as a whole is committed to implementing business practices that reduce harmful impacts to the environment. I am always looking for ways to improve our sustainable business practices. Currently, Kate Maller Jewelry employs the following initiatives:
- Recycled Argentium silver
- Fairmined and recycled gold
- 100% conflict-free and fair trade diamonds
- 100% Reclaimed diamond melee
- Materials sourced from local and US-owned businesses
- Recycled and recyclable packaging
- Eco-friendly printing practices
- Non-toxic studio chemicals, whenever possible
- Recycling and composting at our studio
KM: My background is in sustainable architecture and landscape architecture. A longstanding passion for environmental and social justice has shaped my commitment to sustainability. It stems back to when I was in my undergraduate studies for architecture in Boston. I found I was deeply concerned about the environment and I knew that I wanted to change the world for the better. I geared my education, and professional pursuits, towards all the green initiatives that I could. I also became a LEED-certified professional to pursue making buildings as green as possible.
When I began metalsmithing and started to build my business, I knew I wanted to carry those values through. I knew I couldn’t source materials or employ business practices that were harmful to the environment. My main objective starting out was to figure out how to establish reliable sources and practices that would be sustainable. I must say, it was not easy. For instance, I recall asking people who had been in the business for decades, and were masters of their craft, but they could not tell me where or how to get sustainably sourced gemstones. Environmental degradation and social justice are major concerns when it comes to mining and extracting the raw materials that jewelers use. For me, sustainability is an ethical concern not only in my business, but in my life, and it is something that has been very important to me for over 15 years.
303: You have a first-ever men’s line. Can you discuss the importance of having a male line?
KM: Kate Maller Jewelry has a distinctive look, which resonates with both men and women. While I had made men’s custom jewelry, I was consistently being asked to design a dedicated men’s line. It was something I really wanted to do for quite some time, so it’s very exciting that our first-ever men’s line is launching in the new Fall/Winter line, “The Slice Collection.” In today’s society, more and more men enjoy adorning themselves, so I think having a designated line specifically designed for them with an appropriate scale, weight and a unique perspective was really important for the brand.
Kate Maller is located at 3450 West 32nd Ave. Denver, and is open Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Photography by Giacomo Di Franco.