Have you ever wanted to create an outfit based off a single piece? Local jeweler Brooke Ballard is already a few steps ahead, and has decided to do just this through her own line of handcrafted necklaces, Janey Bee Jems.
“You buy a necklace, and you want to build an outfit based off that piece,” Ballard says. “You find a piece you love so much, and you want to build around it. Your outfit becomes the accessory, and your necklace becomes the statement.”
What began as a hobby for this University of Memphis student eventually became a bonafide side hustle with a presence in more than 40 stores nationwide. Many of Ballard’s best-selling items are unique, one-off pieces that she designs for fun. While some pieces may be similar, no two are exactly the same. Once you have it—you’re the only person who has it.
“I just made a few pieces for myself, and people ended up liking it,” Ballard says. “It’s actually a lot like of therapy. It’s — how can I say it? I get in the zone. You’re so zoned in, that you don’t think about anything else.”
Outside of the therapeutic qualities she has found through making jewelry, the communal aspect of the local fashion scene came as a surprise to Ballard.
“I think it’s really cool to get to share my designs with other people,” she says. “I put my crazy brain into each piece, and people are able to see that. It hardly feels like work.”
Janey Bee Gems jewelry and accessories can be purchased locally at SoCo, Janie Rose, Threads, Southern Muse and Mozelle Boutique.
A Solid Statement
Discovering the crafty creations of
local jeweler Brooke Ballard
Story by Olivia Colvert
Photos by Casey Hilder
Photo courtesy of Tylan Whitfield