Crown Nine is the Oakland flagship boutique of ' Best Of ' jewelry designer Kate Ellen, named Top 100 Shops by the SF Chronicle. Kate Ellen designs ready-to-wear and fine jewelry in her lofted studio, while also featuring a curated selection of semi-precious and fine jewelry handcrafted by the country's best talent.
"I attended courses at College of Marin but am mostly self taught with some mentorship of informal mentors. My inspiration is derived primarily from exploring the materials and medium. Rarely do I sketch work--it is a more spontaneous and surprising process of intuition.
My business began in 2008, but my experience stretches back to childhood; jewelry has always been a way 'to be me' in the world. Quiet time at the bench is where I feel most contented. I love the fire, the dirt, the mess, the tools, and ultimately the beauty that emerges from all that. Unlike other art-forms, the work is then imbued with more meaning with each time it is worn, making the act of creation that much more rewarding."
Kate Ellen crafts her work to look and feel drawn from history with handmade rich textures that look like archaeological discoveries dug up from the earth. Some might call them: hand-hewn, organic, or non-traditional. Her ready-to-wear collection is bold and unconventional, while her bridal line tends towards twists on classic concepts that can be commissioned as one-of-a-kind work or as tailored styles from her Vow Collection. Kate Ellen specializes in sourcing antique post-consumer diamonds from the 1800's through the 1950's in mine-cut, old European cut, and transitional-cut styles. Her fair-trade mined colored gemstones are custom cut by an artist in San Francisco. She sandcasts, fabricates, carves waxes, and sets stones in unique settings.
She combines ancient and new techniques like sandcasting, fabrication, and carving wax for lost-wax casting with a variety of materials including sterling silver, gold, platinum and palladium. She is dedicated to ethical sourcing and studio practices, using recycled gold and materials from obsolete client jewelry, and only purchasing materials that uphold standards of environmental and ethical sustainability.
“Beyond our deep commitment to both ecological and ethical sustainability, Crown Nine centers efforts around creating a space that supports small studio artisans towards actually making a living at their art. We believe in 'real people making real objects'. Likewise, we are involved with our beloved city and community by engaging with the arts, social issues, and supporting other local business development.”