Since 1994, jewelry designer Heather B. Moore has been focused on working with her clients to tell their stories through customized jewelry. “The story that we are documenting [should be] the one that made an impression in your life,” the designer will often tell clients when embarking on such a project, prompting those commissioning her to search a little deeper into their own personal histories.
Moore works out of a studio in Cleveland, Ohio, where she uses steel stamps to add personalized elements to her designs. The stamps were originally made for marking airplane parts during World War II, but they are now used to create indelible names, words, dates, geographic coordinates, mantras, or symbols that hold significance for her customers.
Moore was born in Cleveland into a family that was heavily involved in the industrial engineering and manufacturing world. She took an interest in what they were doing, and when she was nine, Moore tapped into their skills to make a boot jack for her father. Together, they personalized it using a hammer and a stamp. It wasn’t an entirely successful start to what would later become a core component of her business, as she spelled her name wrong. It read: “Love, Heater.”
Throughout her childhood, Moore’s father made car parts, and her mother was a science teacher. With her parents, she visited factories in Cleveland and Detroit, and she started collecting tools when she was 13 years old. “I think that environment, along with my mother’s love for jewelry, led me to have an industrial mind while also loving design,” she reflects.
Moore defines herself as an artist, archivist, and storyteller. When accepting a commission from a client, she or her team will sit with them and ask questions about their life. The goal is to capture the moments that have transformed a person’s life, no matter what that moment may have been. Connecting to the customers’ stories allows her team of artisans to ensure every detail is included. When asked to share a memorable commission, she says: “One I remember often is a grandmother’s recipe for muffins. How sweet is that? What a precious memory to have and share.”
More than just words and dates, the Heather B. Moore studio offers clients more artistic personalization, such as recreating a child’s first drawing or the impression of a pet’s paw print. Using illustration techniques, Moore’s team can create custom stamps that will transfer a cherished family photograph onto a jewel.
Personalized jewels will never go out of fashion, Moore believes. “I’ve been designing jewelry since 1994, and therefore have seen trends come and go, and we have discovered that our personalized jewelry is trendless,” she says. “Our jewelry is a blank slate for them to showcase their story in precious metals and, because of that, the pieces will never go out of style.”
Storytelling is a tool for brands to connect with their audiences, and Heather B. Moore’s brand essence is that a custom piece of jewelry is the best way to share stories from our past. Yet it is not all nostalgia; Moore believes these stories have an impact on our future. Personalized pieces can be powerful and invincible talismans to help the wearers endure challenges in their lives, she says, because by way of her sentimental jewels, they will always remember the stories and people who have made them who they are.
Main image: Jewelry designer Heather Moore. (Heather B. Moore)