Kathryn Bentley’s jewelry collections—she has two: a namesake line and the wallet-friendly spinoff, Dream Collective—grew out of that post-school bind that plenty of art students find themselves in: Well, what do I do now? Thankfully, Kathryn hooked up with some top-notch mentors in NYC, including name-to-know Philip Crangi. “When I worked with Philip, we worked in an elevator shaft in the basement of an antique store on Lafayette Street. He was still doing furniture restoration for the antique store upstairs in trade for rent,” she recalls. “I would do everything from using the torch to rewiring the lamp. If you worked there, you had to know how to do everything.” Kathryn brought this top-to-bottom approach to her own work as well: When she got the idea that she might want to start her own thing, she apprenticed for a model-maker, learning to carve wax so that she could produce all of her components from scratch—nothing would be borrowed from anywhere else.
Once her eponymous line got off the ground—filled with heart-breakingly beautiful watermelon tourmaline earrings and armor-inspired rings—she moved out to L.A. and added a second set of jewelry to the mix, focusing on relaxed, easy-to-layer pieces that suit the sunshine state of mind. “Moving to a new city as an adult and not knowing anybody, I had basically a year to work on design. It gave me more time to process,” she explains. And that cross-country transition is good news for us: It means more owning and less ogling.