lila rice marshall
When her painter mother gifted her a pair of jewelry-making pliers at eight years old, Lila Rice Marshall became an elementary schooler with a real skill for fixing best-friend necklaces and making trinkets for her pals. Zip ahead a few years, and Lila forgot all about her knack for crafting and, in 1996, headed west from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to UC Berkeley to study sociocultural anthropology. “I did an interdisciplinary study that focused on ornamentation—the things that we wear and the meanings we assign them,” she says.
Spoiler alert: That coursework helped lead her back to jewelry. “When I graduated college, I couldn’t find a job. I was waiting tables and thinking about grad school when I started doing a little bit of metalsmithing, as a therapeutic outlet,” she explains. In 2001, her dabbling became a line, Round Designs Jewelry, a collection that focused on, well, circles. “I think it’s a very universal thing to be attracted to certain shapes,” Lila explains, but in 2010 she had enough of all those orbs.
Now, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, she embraces angles, making fierce cuffs, geometric hoop earrings, and arrow-accented necklaces her namesake line by hand—just like she did in her recess-crafting days. “I like having a personal connection with every piece, but I also think part of it is that I’m a control freak,” she says. “Honestly, it’s just me being weird by myself in my studio, playing with the materials. I never have a plan of what’s going to happen.” —alisha prakash
Behind The Scenes
Dive Into Lila Rice’s Elementary-School Collection Really: It doesn’t get much cuter.Little Lila, crafting away.Long before jewelry wonder Lila Rice Marshall started playing with mixed metals—brass, copper, silver, and gold—as a big kid, she was whipping up amazingness with beads, seashells, and chains for her friends in grade school. Here, Lila talks us through some of her earliest work. —alisha prakash“This kooky little thing was the very beginning of my playing with metal wire. What else can I say about it? Kooky.”“A very early specimen. I... READ MORE »
How Lila Rice Crafted Her Of a Kind Earrings These tiny little studs take some serious work.The miniature masterpieces. “What’s really cool to me about the process of making these studs is that none of the steps require tools that are new-fangled or high-tech whatsoever,” explains Lila Rice Marshall of her first ah-mazing Of a Kind edition (now long-gone!). “These are very old metalsmithing techniques—the whole shebang could be done without plugging anything in. I think it’s amazing that you can work with metal using just fire, files, h... READ MORE »