Annika Kaplan wasn’t ever wishy-washy about her planned career—jewelry designer had been top of the list since she could remember. So after graduating from highschool in Minneapolis, she beelined for the Savannah College of Art and Design to pursue that dream. But true to the saying about best-laid plans, she ended up switching gears slightly, as she explains: “I only stayed there for two years. It was so expensive, and the program was really conceptually based. I realized that wasn’t what I actually wanted.” The right answer for her: moving back home and finishing up her jewelry degree at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where she got the nitty-gritty skills she’d been looking for.
From there, Annika dove headfirst into making textured rings and twisted cuffs for her namesake line almost immediately. “I always had the idea that if I’m doing grunt work for someone else, I should just be doing it for myself. I just couldn’t imagine working for anyone else,” she says. These days, she’s her own boss from her home in New Mexico, where she lives with her husband and is constantly drawing on her surroundings—as well as from her research into ancient adornment. “I’ve found my voice, and my work now includes a lot of ancient-looking styles,” she adds. “I’m really inspired by Etruscan and ancient Roman jewelry and also the high-karat gold stuff from Peru and Greece.” And, of course, from getting to do the things she’s always wanted to do, her own way.