Meet Stacey Kennealy, owner and designer of Stacey Fay Designs. Stacey Fay Designs is a handmade and vintage jewelry company that is local to Narberth on the Main Line. It took Stacey a while to find her passion in jewelry making; she started out studying Environmental Studies at school, focusing on sustainability and natural sciences. After multiple life hardships, Stacey embraced her pastime hobby and turned it into a business focused on jewelry with history and meaning.
Q: What sparked your interest in jewelry making?
Stacey Kennealy: I began making jewelry in college. I would collect vintage pieces that were broken or missing parts, and would refurbish them into jewelry that could be worn again. I also lived in Costa Rica, and while there I befriended a couple who sold handmade macrame and silver jewelry at a small stand in town. Every day I would talk with them and watch them sell to tourists, and over time they began to teach me the craft. This was something that really opened my eyes to the idea of being a jewelry maker.
Q: After figuring out this pathway, how did you make your plan into a reality?
SK: Despite this interest that was sparked, and even with successfully selling jewelry at that time, my path to creating this current business has been long and winding. After college I dove headfirst into the nonprofit world, and the combination of that busy job as well as the sudden and unexpected loss of my sister led me to forgo the jewelry for nearly a decade. I had neither the time nor the energy. Fast forward to a few years ago, when a number of other life changes came about, including marriage and the death of my mother in quick succession. Sometimes you need changes such as these to wake you up. For me, it reignited the jewelry passion on a deep level, and I just knew I needed to make something of it.
This time around, I wanted to expand my business beyond the refurbished vintage pieces, to also include handmade metal jewelry, as well as the sale of vintage and antique jewelry. To learn and perfect my craft, I took metalsmithing classes, read countless books, watched videos, and reached out to other jewelry makers for help on the actual process and any tips they might have to give me. Last year, I began studying towards my degree as a gemologist through the Gemological Institute of America. Step by step, I’ve learned how to build and run this business, and I’m learning new things every day.
Q: What makes your jewelry special?
SK: Unlike a lot of the jewelry you see in stores, my handmade jewelry is all locally crafted – I either make pieces start to finish myself or I work with local jewelers on historic Jeweler’s Row in Philly. I also use recycled metals and reclaimed materials. As for the vintage and antique pieces, I’m breathing new life into oft-forgotten jewelry that would likely be scrapped or thrown away.
Most importantly, I like to focus on storytelling in everything I do. I believe in making pieces that go beyond just looking pretty; I want the person wearing my jewelry to feel a symbolic connection to each piece they own. I want there to be a story behind the beauty that sparks conversation when other people see it, and , for pieces to hold special meaning to the wearer. This philosophy is evident in my Memoir jewelry line which is based on real women’s stories, my symbolic wax seal necklaces, and in the deep history of each of my vintage and antique pieces.
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