Desiree Casimiro, 32; Emily Kane, 31; and Carly Mayer, 30, are the designers behind Forge and Finish, a year-old, made-in-Kensington jewelry line featuring bold shapes and materials from bronze to porcelain to concrete.
All three went to Temple University - Mayer and Kane to the Tyler School of Art - and later shared studio space where each was working on her own artistic endeavors. They also had day jobs; Kane and Mayer produced the in-house brand for the jewelry chain Dandelion. Over time, their collaboration grew into one brand with a single mission.
"We create lines simultaneously and design them together and fabricate them together," Kane said. "Everything that has happened has evolved very naturally."
Each designer develops prototype pieces in metal, which she'll wear or lend to friends to see how it feels and holds up over time.
If a piece gets a good response, they'll put it into production, making it in their studio or sending a design to a local jeweler to cast. Sometimes, they'll cut up the cast-metal designs and repurpose them. One design, a circle of metal with notches carved into it, makes its way into a pendant, a cuff, earrings, and a ring, in various incarnations.
Casting, Casimiro said, is "a way to keep costs down and then pass that on to the buyer," Casimiro said. Some pieces start as low as $20; custom designs are much more.
But they want their work to be accessible. "If our friends can't buy it, that's not cool," Kane said.
Ideas are everywhere, they said.
Mayer was walking dogs one day, and she got into a conversation with some workers laying sidewalk. "I got completely engrossed in their process," she said, and ended up making a series of concrete-and-bronze earrings and necklaces. Another time, she was listening to Björk's album Vulnicura on repeat. The breakup song "Black Lake" set the tone for a series of equally moody pieces.
Their jewelry is on sale at Ritual Ritual and Moon + Arrow in Philadelphia, and directly from the designers at 484-324-8857 or Forgeandfinish.com.