Stylin': Raleigh woman makes jewelry with an industrial feel

CorrespondentMay 22, 2013 

Lauren Markley doesn’t make ordinary jewelry.

Her pieces aren’t what one might find at Charming Charlie or Claire’s; industrial and geometric, they look more like art than jewelry.

“Living in economically depressed parts of the country, I saw a lot of abandoned and burnt-out, crumbling buildings,” she says. “My structural pieces and distressed textures – I burn, scratch, gouge and sand a lot of my surfaces – reference these economic and physical changes.”

A native of Kansas, Markley studied and practiced her craft of metalsmithing in New York City, Iowa and South Carolina before landing in Raleigh. Drawn to jewelry making, she created her Lauren Markley Contemporary Jewelry line using uncommon materials and a sculptural aesthetic.

“I use sterling silver and brass, and wood that is reclaimed from old piano keys,” she says. “And I use silk thread and spray paint to add color to the work.”

The result is funky: a brooch resembling a small coral cage adorned with kinked iron wire or silver rings with a rough, industrial look offset by pops of brilliant color. Most of Markley’s pieces are one-of-a-kind, ensuring the wearer isn’t likely to see the same ring or necklace on someone else.

“I prefer to make one-of-a-kinds because I like to work intuitively and let designs emerge from the raw material and the fabrication process,” she explains. “I’ve been doing a lot of craft shows recently, and I have found that customers want to buy something that is unique. They like knowing that nobody else will own the same item.”

Markley’s jewelry is available locally at Rebus Works gallery, and also by visiting her website,

Party over here

Nora and Nicky’s designer resale boutique will celebrate its grand opening with a party from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday. Prices at the boutique range from $50 to $700. Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane will be on-hand for a ribbon cutting at 6 p.m. and refreshments will be served. Nora and Nicky’s is at 19 W. Hargett St., Ste. 104, Raleigh, 919-856-4244,

Remake yourself

Local stylist Mary Michele Little of One Chic Mama will help mothers and daughters remake their personal style during her Discovery 101 style workshop Saturday. From 9 a.m.-noon, participants will learn colors and cuts that best compliment their face shape, body type and personal style. The workshop will be held at the One Chic Mama offices in Raleigh and the fee is $397 per mother-daughter pair. For more info, email or visit

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