For Kristen Levy, starting her own line was child’s play—or at least it started out that way. As she remembers, “When I was young, my grandma would let me rummage through her jewelry drawer, and I would tinker around and re-make them into something else.” Her mom took notice of her obsession and signed her up for a beading workshop, which led to a phase of bracelet-covered family members. And while her grown-up marketing career at Wired magazine took her away from her grade-school hobby, it eventually led her to a position as a buyer at a boutique in San Francisco, where—wouldn’t you know it?—she started toying around again.
She officially launched her line Kristen Elspeth in 2005, and, in the years since, she’s developed a reputation for her spare, ear-hugging hoops and finger-wrapping gold shield rings. As she came up, she also made her way down the coast—these days, she spends most of her time in her L.A., getting ideas from all of that California sunshine. “I really want my jewelry to accentuate whoever is wearing it—I use mostly 14-karat gold and try focus on how the light from that plays off skin,” she says. Talk about a youthful glow.