While I’ve worked with jewelry in my previous job, operating 42 year old company 1928 Jewelry’s website, I haven’t seen as unique pieces from a jewelry company as I have from Caitlin Minges company Kites & Metal. Caitlin, a dear friend of mine, is a one-of-a-kind fashion jewelry designer taking in inspiration from her surroundings and creating astounding pieces for everyday use.
I had the pleasure to interview her on her unique collection. Read through the interview to learn a little more about Kites & Metal and through the character breakdown to learn about fun and vivacious, Caitlin Minges!
FA: When did you first decide to design jewelry?
CM: Ive been designing jewelry since about the 7th grade. My dad used to make pieces for my mom when they were too poor to afford ‘real’ jewelry and I always thought they were so beautiful. My parents fully supported a hobby over watching t.v., so I got some supplies and started teaching myself.
FA: What inspires you to create such unique pieces?
CM: I try to watch what’s currently trendy, but for the most part I like to make things that are classically pretty. Something that you can wear at work, out at night, or just being casual. Occasionally I’ll do something a little funkier, but my comfort zone is in elegance.
FA: How do you choose which colors, designs, or stones to use?
CM: I studied with GIA (Gemological Institute of America) for a bit and became pretty familiar with various precious and semi-precious stones. I like using stones with shapes and colors you may not see that often. Otherwise, I just go by what my favorite colors are, and end up using mainly greens, blues, yellows and purple. As for the designs, I never make something that I wouldn’t wear or buy in a store myself.
FA: How did you come up with the name for your company?
CM: I am always going to remain a child at heart. Even though I’m starting this business, there is a part of whimsy in me that will never leave. That’s where the “Kites” part came from. I like the freedom and emotion associated when you hear the word kite. As for metal, well, I deal with a lot of metal, and the seriousness of that word counter balances the kites. My Dad gave me a whole lecture about how I should change the name to “Caitlin’s designs”, but I just can’t!
FA: Where do you purchase the necessary supplies for creating your jewelry?
CM: Theres a lot of great places around, the key is finding a place that provides unique or interesting pieces. I get a lot of my gemstones from Firemountain.com or from Rio Grande (the holy bible for jewelers). As for charms or certain stones that you don’t see anywhere else, I get them from Etsy.com, Ebay.com, and various Gem and Jewelry Shows in Los Angeles.
FA: Where would you like to see your jewelry in the next 5 years?
CM: We’ll hopefully be launching our very own website by the end of this summer that will also include a highly edited selection of retail items for which I got to be the buyer (so fun!). The step after would be to offer a higher end line of jewelry using gold and precious stones. And by the end of 5 years I would love to have my own store front and a name that is recognizable by people in the fashion world.
Character Breakdown: Caitlin Minges
Favorite Color? Turquoise. Its kind of a mild obsession!
Favorite Food? French Fries! But, as far as things that I can actually eat on a regular basis, I love ground turkey in a salad. And peanut butter and jelly!
Dream destination? I am dying to go to Borneo. There’s a program there where you can be a foster mom to an orphaned orangutan that is my dream!
Favorite piece of clothing? I have this vintage white coat and hat from the 40’s that my dad bought me at an antique shop a couple years ago. The hat is totally impractical, and the coat is completely over the top, but I will keep them forever!
Favorite quote? “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream” – Edgar Allen Poe
Favorite designer? As far as things I can sometimes afford, I would say Rachel Roy. As far as things that I could never afford, it would have to be Alexander McQueen.
Favorite restaurant? Red White and Bluezz. It’s a live jazz restaurant in Pasadena where I had my first real date with my boyfriend.
Favorite musician? Sia or Feist.
Favorite book? 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Worth reading over and over again.
One word adjective to describe yourself? …different.