Maker Stories

Handmade Jewelry in our Hometown

March 30, 2011

One of the wonderful things about working at UncommonGoods is getting to hang out in beautiful Brooklyn every day. Not only is Brooklyn our home, it’s also home to some incredibly talented artists.

Instead of letting all the Brooklyn pride well up until we burst, we decided to gush about a few of the artists that help make this borough great!

We’re kicking-off our “Made in Brooklyn” series with two local jewelry designers, Yayoi Inada, whose pieces contain little reminders to slow down (definitely something that can come in handy in a busy city like New York!) and Nguyen Le, who blends classic jewelry pieces with soft, knit accents.

Message in a Bottle

Yayoi Inada’s home base here in Brooklyn may be geographically distant from her birthplace near a small forest in Japan, but she gathers inspiration from both her new home and her old.

She was raised in Kyoto and Osaka, Japan, where, despite the bustle of the city, people’s lives are very intertwined with nature. She says that observing nature’s beauty has always given her a “calm and complete feeling.”

After working in the busy world of advertising in Tokyo, Yayoi decided to follow her passion to express her artistic side and moved to New York to Study jewelry design at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Now she meticulously handcrafts each of her sterling silver pieces in her Brooklyn studio. She specializes in hand-etching and detailed wax carving, and uses these skills to share messages like “Reminder, Breathe” and “Today and Always.”

Leaves & Berry Knit Necklace

Nguyen Le takes also takes influences from nature while living and working in the city. She blends the age-old traditions of knitting and felting with hard materials such as wood and metal.

Brooklyn provides a great backdrop for the artist, who says she’s inspired by everything around her, and loves to knit things that wouldn’t normally be “softly-made.” Her sister, who “isn’t very girly,” inspired one of Nguyen’s most recognizable pieces, the Power Cord Necklace.

Other pieces, such as her Stone & Cluster Necklace, handmade from twisted ebony wood, chalk turquoise and white merino wool felted beads, and her Berry & Pods Wood Necklace, featuring wood beads, a merino wool berry and wool and rayon blend pods, are prime examples of how the artist mixes textures to create attention-getting pieces.

Any Brooklynites reading this? Let us know what Brooklyn artists you love!


  • Reply On Sale | Top 10 Summer Sale | UncommonGoods July 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    […] $60.00, now $39.99) is a bright and beautiful way to get in touch with nature.  Brooklyn-based Nguyen Le handmakes each […]

  • Reply handmade jewellry July 20, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  • Reply cassie July 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks for the comment! We’re so glad to hear you enjoy our blog. We’ll be posting again soon.

  • Reply Érica August 20, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Nince post… thanks for sharing you story! 😉

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