Kendra Pariseault Turns Sound Into Jewels

Rhode Island-born jewelry designer Kendra Pariseault, 40, translates sound waves into visual form through gold and gemstones. Examining how sound is a key memory marker of life’s most important moments, her first collection included wavelength rings, high-frequency earrings and resonance cuffs set with diamonds, pearls and her favorite pink sapphires. Clients may also request personalized sound wave bracelets based on a sound or spoken expression of their choice. I sit down with her to discuss her eponymous brand.

How did you arrive at this calling? How and when did you become interested in jewelry?

My family has always collected jewelry. From a young age, I would shop with my grandmother and mother for costume and fine jewelry. I loved accessorizing, and still, to this day, believe more is more.

Why did you go from working at Calvin Klein and David Yurman to starting your own brand?

I studied textiles as an undergraduate and worked in the fabric sourcing department at Calvin Klein. I love color, so when I saw an opening at Yurman, I jumped at it. It was a lateral move, but I wanted to learn more about the jewelry industry and stones. While at Yurman, I took many classes at FIT’s gemology program. My love for colored stones and jewelry grew. From there, I pursued a MFA in jewelry and metalsmithing at RISD and started my own company. I saw a need for custom jewelry, especially bridal, that really looked at the client holistically. There are so many factors involved in wearing and purchasing jewelry: lifestyle, budget, etc. I wanted to provide my clients with a truly one-on-one experience.

I love every bit of the market. It brings me such joy to work with clients one on one to create their engagement rings. The engagement ring process can be so intimate and personal that I consider myself so blessed to continue to help couples create the rings of their dreams.

What are your sources of inspiration?

I love music and for me, sounds are a big memory trigger. I grew up in Rhode Island, so the sound of the ocean is something that calms me down and reminds me of the unbelievable childhood I had. My pieces are inspired by sound waves, and one of my collections is inspired by the sounds of the sea. It is very whimsical and playful.

Is the fact that you’re creating jewels inspired by sound and in the form of sound waves unique in the jewelry industry?

I believe so. The form of sound waves within the jewelry-scape is a language I have created. Incorporating not only sound, but the memories held within each wave is such an important basis for my entire collection.

What is your approach towards the materials that you use?

Every piece of gold and gemstone used in a Kendra Pariseault design is sustainably sourced and adheres to all sustainable mining practices. Sustainability is really important right now, and while I don’t necessarily advertise that I am working with all responsibly sourced materials, I am. I believe it is the only way to move forward for all designers. I believe that brands and individuals have to start building sustainable practices into their ethos from the very beginning. Ethically sourcing should never be an afterthought; it cannot be something that they think about later.

What new innovative techniques or technologies do you incorporate in your jewelry making?

I am really obsessed with post-consumer stones, especially post-consumer diamonds. What I do love about post-consumer diamonds is that they were cut by hand. The facets are chunky and each one has its own DNA and unique character composition. I am so in love with antique stones. I am always finding the most beautiful and unique vintage cuts, which I find innovative in themselves. I use an array of vintage cuts in my designs, specifically antique cushion, old European and old mine. I use traditional goldsmithing techniques. I believe in high-quality and steady production. I have and will always be more than happy to pay more for quality, and I believe my clients feel the same.

Where are the different craftsmanship ateliers you work with located?

Their workshops are located in New York City. I sell direct to my clients and work with a select group of stylists in NYC and Los Angeles.

How are you adopting a different approach and mentality to jewelry making, away from traditional jewelry?

My mentality is client first, meaning I really listen to and guide my clients, versus pushing them. I sometimes think I could have been a therapist because I am a really good listener!

Who are some of the celebrities who wear Kendra Pariseault?

Halima Aden, Cami Mendes, Emily Arlook, Tracy Tutor.

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