Custom work was where I thrived — guiding a client through the spectacular world of diamonds and gemstones and discovering together which gems thrilled them and would stand up to their lifestyle turned out to be my specialty.
In 1992, my first child was born and I cut back to part-time employment. I set up a bench in my home, working during baby's nap times and evenings, meeting clients at the store on weekends. By 1997, it was time break out on my own and I established Maggie Lee Designs. I had concepts of my own that I was anxious to create and sell.
My first collection was the Signature Collection, characterized by a mix of yellow gold and platinum, clean lines, and casual elegance. In 1999, I received status as a juried member of the prestigious Pennsylvania Guild of Designer Craftsmen and began exhibiting at Fine Craft Shows. At these shows where many other designers’ jewelry was often pretty wild and bulky, patrons would come to my booth and tell me that my work was jewelry they could wear all the time with a casual elegance. I love beautiful gems and diamonds and this collection showcases them in original designs that are comfortable and durable, and elegant in their simplicity.
A few years later, I launched the Caribbean Dreams Collection. I can still recall how working with turquoise gems and pearls reminded me of the Caribbean and warmed me during a long, dreary, cold season. This line is soothing and organic, with lustrous pearls and the colors of sea and sky.
In 2007, I was struck with inspiration and created the Compass Rose Collection. I borrowed this highly symbolic icon and reimagined it in ways that showcase my trademark “casual sophistication” with "wearability”. What makes it extra rewarding for me is capturing all the sentiment represented by this symbol in a piece of jewelry. The stories I hear of what the Compass Rose means to my clients and why someone is buying to wear themselves or giving as a gift are heartwarming. I love that my craft allows me to be a cog in the wheel of my clients’ expression of love and passion.
My Compass Rose Collection has added a wonderful twist in my business and life. Exhibiting at boat shows not only feeds my inspiration, but brings me in contact with great people who share my passion for being on the water. Many wonderful relationships have been built at these shows. It's wonderful to see familiar faces and catch up on their adventures each year.
Thirty-plus years at the bench have made me very familiar with the intricacies of jewelry design — allowing me to create designs that are elegant and long-lasting, and what I refer to as heirloom quality. My collections continue to evolve as well as my client base. I have made hundreds of custom pieces. Art and boat show exposure and “word of mouth” from happy clients have grown my business to what it is today. When I first started Maggie Lee Designs, a dear old mentor of mine from the diamond business told me that each pleased client would turn into many generations of clients, one referring the next. His words have come true.
Always a cheerful smile and a song in her voice, Denise is an important part of Maggie Lee Designs. In 2003, Denise’s love of jewelry and fine crafts led her to assisting Maggie at shows. She was such a great fit that when circumstances allowed, she came to work in Maggie’s studio as well. She has grown into an important part of Maggie Lee Designs, managing many of the duties that go into running a business so Maggie can stay at the bench! You know all those beautiful newsletters you receive? Those are one of Denise’s many talents and contributions. Denise adds a wonderful perspective to the business and is an important asset to Maggie Lee Designs.