By Sarah Ann Noel
Images by Genevieve Tedder
At Fellow, one of our goals is to be in community, supporting the buyers, sellers, makers, and artists who bring people together. As we gear up for the holiday season, and our attention can turn to more material endeavors, we wanted to maintain that focus, with a special push for shopping small and shopping locally. If you didn’t see our Instagram announcement, Fellow will host a Holiday Hullabaloo at Fort Greene for Small Business Saturday on November 26. Bring your Thanksgiving leftovers to our potluck, and get to know the faces behind great local brands from 3-8 p.m.
We’ll also spend the rest of the month getting to know small business owners about Denver. This week, we had the privilege of speaking with Kathryn Giarratano, owner of Amour Absolu, a high-end custom jewelry line.
When I think of jewelry making, I think of beads and string. Your jewelry is high-end, made of precious materials. How did you begin designing?
My love for jewelry began at a very young age when I would play with my grandmother Mary's extensive costume jewelry collection--trying it on and watching her mix it with her wardrobe. I loved the large crystals and how she owned all the colors of the rainbow, but I paid special attention to a broach she always wore on her winter coat. Something about having that meaningful piece stuck with me and I dabbled with all sorts of jewelry design throughout the years. From macaroni noodles on a shoelace to diamonds set in 14k gold, every piece was designed with care, passion, and focus. Somehow I've always known, even from age five, that when I create a piece of jewelry for someone it is a reflection of who I am and my design sensibility. I continue to be influenced by many things in my life such as family and interesting architecture.
I love that you are influenced by all facets of life. Your designs are delicate and simple—what’s the inspiration?
I'd like to think that my collection is delicate but carries some weight. You can mix more substantial pieces like the large shields with more delicate pieces like the stackable rings, bangles, or our new charm necklaces to create a unique look. When deciding on design specifics such as shapes and stone placements, I keep sketching until it just feels right in my gut. With the exception of my signature Bar Pendant, I don't know that there's any piece that didn't go through at least a few rounds of minor tweaks. Like everything else in my life, I try to practice the old mantra "Go with your gut". I know when a design feels final and exciting to me.
As a Colorado native, do you think the state’s culture has also inspired your work?
I feel deeply grateful to call this gorgeous state home. I've lived in California and Spain for brief periods of time throughout my 20s, and can honestly say it always felt good to come home. In creating my first collection, I wanted to pay special tribute to Colorado and thus I designed the 'Peaks Stackable' to symbolize the beautiful Rocky Mountains and perhaps more deeply remind me of my roots and the values my wonderful parents instilled in me and my sisters.
Values that you’re no doubt passing on to your own daughters now. As a mom of very young children, how do you find time to run a business, especially one that requires you making something?
I work between the hours of 2 and 4 a.m.! Ha! I believe it's true that if you have a dream you should pursue it with unwavering commitment. That said, I also believe that preparedness is the key to success in anything in life. I didn't just think, "Gee! A line of fine jewelry sounds like a fun venture!" and jump into it the next day. I did extensive market research and reached out to people with many emails that began "You don't know me, but will you meet for a cup of coffee so I can pick your brain?" It was so much work to launch but I had this concept of creating fine jewelry with hidden meanings that would last a lifetime that I just had to share with the world.
So it was something specific that started the whole thing.
The concept began with a piece I designed for our older daughter, who is almost 5, and launched when I was 40 weeks pregnant with our second daughter! It’s the Bar Pendant. I couldn't find anything in the marketplace that spoke to me as a new mom that both represented her and would last a lifetime. So, I designed a simple gold bar with eight diamonds—one diamond for each letter of her name, Giuliana. From that grew a collection of customizable pieces with diamonds representing family members, anniversaries, etc.
Do you think most of your clients are moms then? In search of a similar memento?
Moms were definitely my target client when I first began designing. I had a newborn and was full of all those hormones! While I still love creating those pieces, I have since added pieces like the XO Collection that incorporate the shield and circle collections to create a subtle XO that simply come in 14k white, yellow, or rose gold. Expanding my clientele beyond mothers is just a reflection of how my journey continues through womanhood. Perhaps the niche I've managed to carve out in the fine jewelry world is creating pieces with what I call 'subtle symbolism' that are both beautiful and will last a lifetime. I want my clients to cherish their Amour Absolu as much as they do an engagement ring or family heirloom because that's exactly what these pieces are—heirlooms.
So how do we get our hands on some?
I always have about a dozen pieces in inventory that are ready to ship. The best way to inquire about in-stock pieces is by emailing Info@AmourAbsolu.com. You will receive a prompt response and items can be shipped within 24 hours with Express Shipping if necessary. Amour Absolu is also carried at The Metalmark House in Denver at 1600 Boulder Street in LoHi.
All pieces can be fully customized on our full e-commerce website (meaning you can choose white, yellow, or rose gold and number of diamonds) at AmourAbsolu.com and have a 4-week turnaround on every order. Don't see exactly what you were looking for? Send an email to Info@AmourAbsolu.com and you'll receive a response within 24 hours. I am always looking to work directly with clients to create exactly what they want.