Who are the pieces named after?
Each piece is inspired by and named after an important woman in my life. A lot of my designs are inspired by conversations or memories I have with my friends and loved ones, while others are a creation based on the essence of that person, or how they make me feel being around them. Wearing my jewelry is my way to always feel connected to them, whether they are near or far.
What is your process like? How long does it take to make one piece of jewelry?
My process always starts with the inspiration. From there I play around with ideas in my head and start carving my ideas into wax and see what sticks. All of my pieces are created by lost wax casting, using the original carving that I made. Sometimes I post process videos on Instagram for those who are curious. I would say each piece, on average, takes about 12 hours to make.
Everything seems really expensive, why?
My biggest wish would be that fine jewelry could be less expensive so everyone could have their favorite pieces. However, precious metals aren't "precious" for nothing! It is an extremely expensive medium to work with. Beyond this, my jewelry making process is quite different. The majority of designers today design on the computer, creating what is called a CAD (computer-aided design). That CAD is then typically sent to a manufacturer (typically overseas to cut costs) where they fully manufacture the piece and return it back to the designer. For Natalie McMillan Jewelry, every piece is created from my original handmade wax carving and then soldered, sanded, polished, cleaned, and usually packaged by me. It is a one woman show over here! Because of this, the cost of making quality, handmade jewelry is very high and retail prices are reflective of the materials and artisanal nature of the pieces, as well as ethical and local production.
How do I know my size?
STEP 1: Close your fingers together, bringing your thumb and little finger together (as if you were putting on a bangle).
STEP 2: Using a strip of paper, string, or tape measure, measure around the closed hand at the widest point, pulling the tape snug against the skin. If you are using a plain strip of paper, mark the paper with a pen, then measure the strip with a ruler. This is the circumference of your hand.
STEP 3: Find the hand circumference on the table below. Choose a bangle size with a diameter at least 1/4" larger than the diameter shown below. If unsure or in-between sizes, we recommend sizing up.
If hand circumference is around 7-8” order petite
If hand circumference is around 8.5" - 9.5" order regular
I recommend using a ring sizer (you can get one at your local craft store or even on Amazon) to determine your correct ring size. Because each ring is handmade to order, we don't accept returns or exchanges, so it is best to be sure of your size!