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MEET THE DESIGNER: URSA MAJOR

Ursa Major
Kate Jones SHOP ALL
Kate Jones, the San Francisco-based jewelry designer behind Ursa Major, has the kind of life story that would make for a fascinating memoir—one that would promptly be turned into a screenplay. At age five, she sailed with her family from Annapolis to Venezuela, homeschooled (boatschooled?) all the way. After spending nearly two years aboard the Ursa Major (her family’s vessel and her company’s namesake), she moved to Maine and began making her own jewelry. One day, her mother walked into a local boutique wearing a brooch that 12-year-old Kate had created, and the shop owner wanted to stock it immediately. “She ordered about 20 pieces for Christmas, and I was only able to make 10,” Kate laughs. “They were these abstract, Keith Haring-esque animal brooches made with lots of different patterns and various colors of polymer clay. Each one was unique and took forever to make.” READ MORE


Kate Jones, the San Francisco-based jewelry designer behind Ursa Major, has the kind of life story that would make for a fascinating memoir—one that would promptly be turned into a screenplay. At age five, she sailed with her family from Annapolis to Venezuela, homeschooled (boatschooled?) all the way. After spending nearly two years aboard the Ursa Major (her family’s vessel and her company’s namesake), she moved to Maine and began making her own jewelry. One day, her mother walked into a local boutique wearing a brooch that 12-year-old Kate had created, and the shop owner wanted to stock it immediately. “She ordered about 20 pieces for Christmas, and I was only able to make 10,” Kate laughs. “They were these abstract, Keith Haring-esque animal brooches made with lots of different patterns and various colors of polymer clay. Each one was unique and took forever to make.”
These days, the jeweler and part-time baker—look for her famed olive oil cake at Four Barrel in SF—keeps up with much larger orders, and her architecturally inspired pieces are a bit more understated. “Jewelers have this opportunity to create pieces that can be around 200-plus years from now,” she explains. “Why wouldn’t you want to make something that is pertinent now, and can still be pertinent that far down the line?” Sounds like the story’s hardly over yet. —monica derevjanik

ursamajorcollection.com

BEHIND THE SCENES

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Kate Jones’s Journey Through Jewelry-Making

How colorful clay brooches evolved into timeless essentials.

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Get Outta Town Kate Jones’s Two-Year Sailing Expedition

Welcome aboard the beloved Ursa Major! Next stop: the Caribbean.

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