If you were a child of the 90s you probably have vivid memories of pre-technology entertainment. i.e. disc men, board games, cards – before we started to treat our iPhones like appendages.
If you are anything like me, maybe you sometimes long for the days of being unreachable at any given moment. Left to my own devices (and my moms unlocked closet) It was always easy for me to escape in my own fantasies. Whether it was trying on my moms pearls while she was at a party or doing my sisters makeup or sneaking youtube videos on the desktop (remember those?).
Most people from this decade have certain memories, toys or trends that stick out in their mind. This is why any 20-something will appreciate with the nostalgic wonder Ready-Made’s jewelry line Ode To The Nineties. Ready- Made is a fine jewelry line that is dainty with a great attention to detail without sacrificing quality and durability. Designer Jennifer Meng graduated from Wellesley College in 2013 and after working at a law firm decided to follow her passion in jewelry design and production. She started the company New Mermaid in 2016 which is an online destination for vintage jewelry which subsequently lead to Ready-Made.
Her designs are playful and young at heart, but because everything is made with such great quality material and functionality the jewelry transcends age demographics and really can be regarded as heirlooms.
We’re all about the dichotomies: Fine jewelry craftsmanship, costume jewelry price points. Look and feel of fine gold, strength and toughness of steel. Playful designs and quirky relics, sophisticated presentation. – Jennifer Meng
The designs reference 90s specific trends like Poly Pocket, Sticker Stud Earrings and Bubble Wands.
And while the designs are adorable, the most original and notable part of the collection is the quality of the material. “Ready-Made is a new kind of fine jewelry line, where we take nontraditional materials such as 316L stainless steel, a traditionally masculine and industrial metal and not to mention one of the most recycled metals on earth, and transform it into everyday, delicate pieces that never fall apart.” As a sustainable jewelry blogger I had never heard of such a specific type of metal chosen, and (obviously) I was happy to see that its commonly available in recycled form.
I had the unique opportunity to interview the designer Jennifer Meng and ask her a little more about her brand and background. Her answers are below.
Favorite City? Boston First piece of jewelry? Tiny heart-shaped amethyst ring that my mom bought for me Favorite Jewelry Trend? Huge statement earrings Favorite piece of jewelry you own? Too many! Favorite kind of stone? Pearl or Emerald or Pink Topaz. Favorite kind genre? Personal narrative Ideal vacation destination? Somewhere beachy How did you get into the jewelry industry and what made you want to design jewelry? I’ve loved jewelry my whole life, in all its forms, even the plastic pieces that children play with. My parents took me on a lot of trips throughout Asia, and over time I accumulated a nice collection – inexpensive yet all very meaningful. When I started shopping for jewelry to buy myself, however, I felt like all that I was seeing was expensive and not meaningful or worthy enough for me to purchase. I worked in a high stress environment, and wanted my jewelry to give me a little pick-me-up, to be unique and serve as a good luck charm, but I didn’t want to throw down my salary for fine jewelry or waste it on cheap, thoughtlessly produced pieces. I think that the desire to seek the unique is why I curate my vintage brand, New Mermaid, and my hope to give buyers an in-between of fine and costume jewelry is why I founded and design jewelry under Ready-Made. What would you say is your design and style inspiration? I am inspired by objects. I love the idea of relics and mementos, these little physical memories. Everyday objects, in particular, are fascinating to me because, while they’re not obviously resonating at first glance, they can be so emotionally charged. For me, in a design and aesthetic sense, It’s also delightful and surprising to take a simple, recognizable object – for example, really common things like an avocado or spoon or nostalgic subjects like a bubble wand or thimble – and to transform that into something permanent and intimate to covet. How do you source your materials? What are your thoughts on sustainability and the sustainability movement in the jewelry industry? I think sustainability is necessary and I think we’re getting there. I wish there was more action on the part of larger mass market companies and brands. I see a lot of sustainability initiatives in clothing, but I think jewelry is viewed as ornamental or decorative, and maybe that’s why it’s an afterthought when it comes to the larger sustainability movement. Currently, there’s a lot more focus on transparency in the jewelry industry (that’s a whole other conversation) but more and more brands are making their mark on sustainability with man-made diamonds, recycled gold, resale and vintage, and it’s nice to see fashion industry veterans coming out with sustainable jewelry lines, such as Bar Jewellery. Describe the platform of your brand? What cause/ causes do you support and why? Ready-Made is unique in that we make jewelry at affordable price points that literally last forever. Our first collection is 90s inspired a.k.a. reimagined favorite childhood relics (Polly Pocket, Sticker Earrings, etc.). Ready-Made is a new kind of fine jewelry line, where we take nontraditional materials such as 316L stainless steel, a traditionally masculine and industrial metal and not to mention one of the most recycled metals on earth, and transform it into everyday, delicate pieces that never fall apart. We also plate our pieces with hypoallergenic and super strong tinite via an environmentally friendly vacuum process, and that lustrous gold or rose gold coloring, in addition to adding another layer of strength, never tarnishes or fades. At the end of the day, I support real choices. I want every person to be able to own jewelry that they can covet forever, that can become heirlooms. And I want people to be able to buy high quality jewelry pieces without succumbing to a false perception of value or crazy markups. Anything else that you think we should know about your brand? We’re all about the dichotomies: Fine jewelry craftsmanship, costume jewelry price points. Look and feel of fine gold, strength and toughness of steel. Playful designs and quirky relics, sophisticated presentation.
For any 90s babies out there, Ready- Made will bring you back to the feel good years with classic designs that elude to 90’s trends and memories. You can shop looks online without breaking your budget on the ready-made website. Thank you Jennifer Meng for letting goodbern share a little bit about your brand.