“We are in the business of making other business thrive.”Christine McPartlandCEO and Designer
A trained mathematician, Christine McPartland spent over ten years teaching the subject to young students.
“I’m not afraid of numbers”, she says with a smile. Her understanding of geometry and calculations paired well with her jewelry-making hobby. Throughout her teaching career, students routinely asked about the jewelry she was wearing and where they could buy it. After gaining tenure, Christine decided to take a break from teaching and moved to NYC to try and make it as a full-time jeweler. She gave herself two years to experiment with this new career path. As her business began to grow, she pushed her timeline to five years, and has now been a professional jeweler for thirty-five years.
In the early days of Earwings, Christine focused on her own jewelry line. In order to gain more brand awareness, she once entered a jeweler’s competition: aside from winning, she realized that none of the other contestants were producing their own work. Instead, they designed their products and then outsourced the production. Seeing the opportunity, Christine quickly pivoted and established her metalwork design and manufacturing firm.
“Everyone starts somewhere. We want to be a part of the journey.”
Christine works with a mixed assortment of clients and projects. Her metalworking projects are typically constructed of gold, silver, and brass, but her skills extend to gem and stone setting. Her client list includes internationally-recognized designers, theatre and television productions as well as small companies and emerging designers.
Known for her metalwork, Christine produces jewelry, hardware for shoes and handbags, as well as buttons and other ornaments for clothing. Depending on the client and project, Christine will participate in the actual design, offer consultations, and/or complete the finishing and assembly of these pieces. While many metalworkers use casting to produce their work, Christine hand-carves her molds; when used for mass production, these molds still have the look of being made by hand. This style of work is incredibly uncommon, and the result is extraordinary.
“I love figuring it out.”
Always evolving, Christine challenges herself with complex projects. “Some clients come to me with really esoteric work”, she explains. Christine’s long-term clients often look to her for brainstorming new ideas and recommending solutions to complex pieces.
In addition to partnering with her long-term clients, Christine also works on projects with international manufacturers and designers, and recently completed a project for the Smithsonian. Drawing from Native American pottery and other exhibitions as inspiration, Christine was tasked with creating jewelry that communicated these cultural identities and style. She shares a deep feeling of gratitude when describing her journey: “I feel so fortunate to have helped incredible brands and organizations build out new product lines and incorporate new materials into their designs.”