Most people know 20-year Saratoga Springs resident Katie Cristo as a local realtor, mom and avid volunteer. What they may not know is that she also runs her own custom jewelry business. saratoga living recently caught up with the designer to talk about that creative side, and how Katie Cristo Custom Jewelry came to be.
Katie, tell us, how did you first get into jewelry making?
Having just completed a major house renovation, my inner designer came tapping back to that door, like, “Hey you—what’s next?!” After some casual researching, I learned about chainmail weaving. What really caught my attention was how it had a modern take on jewelry but was curiously tied to the old world. Chainmail was used to make medieval armor, so it was created to be extremely strong. I taught myself the technique and started weaving a few chains by hand, right at my kitchen table. I did extensive research to make sure I found the highest quality material available. When I saw how it literally starts as just a pile of rings, but ends as this beautiful, intricately woven chain, I was completely hooked.
Is this when you made it a business?
Yes, but, at first, I thought I’d just make a few pieces and have them available for friends and family for holidays or special occasions. But the funniest thing would happen: I’d wear pieces out to a happy hour and come home with an empty wrist! They were selling off my hand. Then, people started calling me and saying “Hey, Katie, do you think you could do this color stone with that chain?” This was the start of my custom process.
What’s the best part about owning your own custom jewelry business?
I love sitting down with someone and customizing their piece so it’s exactly what they want. And then to see them wearing it a few weeks later when I randomly run into them makes me so happy. I think customers really appreciate when they know that something was created and exclusively made just for them.
Where can people buy your jewelry?
Everything I’ve made thus far is for sale on www.katiecristo.com. But the customization option will continue for all customers—even those who don’t live locally. Anyone interested should email me at email@example.com or call me at 1-800-280-5207.