Kiel Mead Jewelry - Design Bureau

Kiel Mead Jewelry

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Retainers, pink bubblegum blobs, car keys: items not usually found strung on a silver chain, much less in high end jewelry. But for jewelry designer Kiel Mead, these oddball relics are not only sources of inspiration, but also some of the most popular pieces in his eponymous line of jewelry. So, just how did retainers and fishing hooks find their way around the necks of fashion’s elite?

“My first pieces sought after by celebrities were the Forget-Me-Not rings, which were ‘cute’,” says Mead of trendsetting clients like Rose McGowan and Michelle Williams. “Although this piece was successful, I wanted to do something to challenge [my] customers to see what they would wear.”

Mead began experimenting with the limits of design, which led to some of his most daring—and now signature—pieces, like the retainr necklace. “This piece is not just a necklace, but a trophy of conquering those awkward times,” he says.

I wanted to do something to challenge [my] customers to see what they would wear.

Some of his more recent pieces are inspired by antique tea and espresso cups, a personal favorite from his new collection. In an effort to explore what he feels is the “most beautiful part of tea cup,” he pulled off the handles, leaving a jagged edge exposed. “This piece is very deserving to be the next thing in my line because of the roughness it conveys, yet it is very beautiful at the same time.”

Though Mead is securing himself as a rising star in the jewelry world, his goal is much larger than just personal success. Mead and friend Henry Julier (a furniture designer, graphic designer and Design Bureau contributor) are setting out on a mission to help other young designers through the American Design Club. Established in October 2008, the American Design Club was formed to create a community that fosters designers, giving them a platform on which to stand. “I want to help grow a community of designers to be successful in this field,” says Mead. “It’s really difficult to have success, and with the tiny bit of success I have had, I want to help as many people as possible to have it, as well.”

Casualtea necklace, $700,
To learn more about the American Design Club, visit


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