Ferndale resident Elaine Butcher creates custom jewelry to be a part of stories and memories.
By Alexa Caccamo
Photography by Alyssa Lopatin
Elaine Butcher’s love for jewelry and design began when she made friendship bracelets as a little girl. The Denver native says she has always loved creating objects, especially jewelry.
“I’ve always loved making things,” says Butcher, of Ferndale. “What I love about jewelry is that I get to have a creative career and make things every day.”
Butcher, 35, launched Elaine B. Jewelry in Charlottesville, Virginia, and then opened her first store in Ferndale in November 2018.
Butcher took her crafty hands to Virginia Commonwealth University to study metal and glass. After graduation, she worked for a goldsmith for three and a half years and built up her jewelry line in between. In 2013, she launched Elaine B. Jewelry.
Butcher, along with her small team, designs and constructs the jewelry by hand in the Woodward Avenue studio and shop in Ferndale. What makes the boutique different than other jewelers in Metro Detroit is the fact the jewelry is handmade with an unconventional style.
“There’s a lot of jewelry stores in the area, but they aren’t showing the process of making and doing it with modern contemporary design,” she says. “For my jewelry, I like to mix a lot of elements in a clean, modern way.”
Besides the creative process, what Butcher finds most rewarding about running her store is the positive impact it has on shoppers. For Butcher, selling jewelry is a way to help customers create memories.
“We do a lot of work on custom redesigns and engagement rings, and it’s such a personal process because jewelry is something that people wear every day and it has a story,” she says. “Everybody wears jewelry a little bit differently and has their own relationship with it, and one of the things I love most about it is hearing people’s stories, and being a part of it whether it would be for a graduation, a wedding or traveling. I love that it has a lot of meaning in people’s lives.”
While designing custom jewelry may be rewarding for Butcher, it can also be a challenge.
“I always try to push myself in design. We take on a lot of custom projects, and we try to create ‘everything’ for everyone, and it takes me out of my comfort zone and it can be scary,” she says.
Yet Butcher says her team will “always end up creating something great.”
Detroit native Caitline Hurley, 31, is Elaine B. Jewelry’s production manager. “I truly enjoy coming to work,” she says. “Every day we get to learn new aspects about not only technical jewelry making, but also how to be an artist and run a business.”
Butcher has partnered with retailers like City Bird, Post and Good Neighbor as a way for to build relationships with not only business owners of Detroit, but more shoppers with stories.
“Elaine’s designs are both delicate and bold. It’s so unique so that when you wear it, you know it is something special that was thoughtfully crafted,” says Jessica Pulliam, 30, a Ferndale native. “I wear her jewelry to dress up or for everyday wear and get compliments with both pieces. Elaine and her team are wonderful to work with for custom design.”
Shop Elaine B. Jewelry on SEEN Marketplace:
SHOP: Mountain Side Provincial Ring, $1,100.
SHOP: Rose Gold Heart Necklace, $280.
SHOP: Concentric Hoop Earrings, $88.