Humility and kindness are the first words that come to mind when I think of Aaron Henry. When it was announced last October that I was the Design Ambassador of JCK’s Design Center, I was met with a lot of “Who is this gal?” and “Who does she think she is?” The irony is that my only goal has been, and will continue to be, to build community in an industry where secrecy and closed doors seem to reign supreme. Imagine my surprise when Aaron Furlong of Aaron Henry was one of the first people to pick up the phone to say hello. This former president of the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group is shockingly down-to-earth and lets his profoundly talented work do all the talking. He is supportive, wise, and helpful. If you ever get the opportunity to meet him, well, lucky you! You’ve found a true advocate in our world who does more than his part to help emerging talent spread their roots. In the pursuit of his passion, he continues to stay humble and teachable. He is one of my idols, and I’m deeply grateful that he’ll be in attendance at JCK’s historic design center relaunch in Tucson.
I really love how you include the jewelry-making process on your website. Have you incorporated CAD into your process?
No (except in very rare cases). About 98 percent of our jewelry is created by hand. Our models are either carved out of wax or fabricated in silver. I prefer to see my craftsmanship in each piece. I think that I can impart more warmth and soul than a computer rendering.
Chunky open branch necklace in 19.2k yellow gold and diamonds set in 18k white gold
Can you tell us more about the brand name? Why did you choose Aaron Henry rather than Aaron Furlong?
Henry is my middle name. My father has had a shop since the mid-1960s under his name, F. Conrad Furlong Inc., making jewelry for other designers, stores, and stone dealers. I didn’t want to ride his coattails, so I went with Aaron Henry.
If you weren’t making jewelry, what would you be doing with your life?
I can’t really imagine a life apart from the jewelry industry. It’s in the blood! Otherwise, it would have to be something where I could be outdoors. I spent five years as a volunteer ski patroller and wouldn’t mind getting back to that. It was just so rewarding in so many ways.
What is your inspiration and why?
I’d say that all my collections show organic tendencies; some are outright inspired by nature. I strive to make pieces that are coveted by women who are confident, graceful, and timeless.
Layered Aspen leaf bracelet in 19.2k and 18k yellow gold
Can you give us a sneak peek at new projects?
I am working on this chunky but open branch link bracelet, very wide and heavy but also graceful. It has an empowering feel to it when it’s draped over a wrist.
Anything new you’ll be bringing to the show?
Yes! Some new additions to our Mosaic Collection, along with some larger multicolor statement rings.
Mosaic rings 19.2k yellow gold and 18k white gold with sapphires, rubies, and diamonds
How do you contribute to the jewelry community?
I try to be available to my peers and up-and-coming designers with insight and advice. As a past president of the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group, I continue to promote ways to help fellow designers and jewelers find success in our industry.
Why are you excited for JCK Tucson?
Tucson hosts the largest gem show in the world each February. JCK at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass is one of the must-see shows with an amazing roster of talent.
Gold embrace earrings in 18k yellow gold with platinum and diamond compass rose center