We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Bennett and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kelly, why did you pursue a creative career?
Honestly, given my personality, I don’t really feel like I had a choice. I’ve been involved in some creative pursuit or other since I was a child. I originally wanted to become an actor/dancer and had the opportunity to attend a performing arts school from the time I was in 4th grade through high school. After graduating from high school, I went to college where I majored in Theater Arts and minored in dance. I looked at my transcripts once and it was almost comical how easy it was to see I was meant for something creative. Math and science, C’s and D’s. Theater, and English, almost straight A’s. Once I graduated from college, I moved to Chicago to pursue a career on the stage and I really thought that was going to be it for me. However, during this time I started to make jewelry as a hobby. After some time, I burned out on acting and really got into jewelry and gemstones. I had heard about the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and took some of their classes online. I really wanted to obtain the Graduate Gemologist degree in order to help my jewelry career and learn more about gemstones and jewelry. So, I borrowed from my 401k, cashed in my life insurance policy, quit my job of 18 years and moved to Carlsbad to attend the program. I am now a permanent North County resident, and while I still consider my jewelry business a hobby, I am hoping to make it full time some day. I never feel more happy and content than when I am sitting at my jewelers bench creating something beautiful using metal, fire, and gemstones.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I mentioned before that I’ve always been a creative type. My jewelry started out (and currently still is) a hobby. I just like making things and all I can hope is to find an audience out there that appreciates my aesthetic and wants to shop with me. Since I originally started selling my jewelry as a way to pay for my materials, and not as a business, I wouldn’t say it’s been a hard road. However, I am now trying to make that transition from hobby to business, and that I am finding difficult. I am a one-woman shop, so I have to learn how do to every aspect of the business which can be exhausting. Plus I have a full-time job, so it’s a lot. I recently designed my website and it took forever! I am not very tech-savvy. I am most proud of the fact that I know enough about making jewelry that I volunteer to teach metal smithing at my local Gem and Mineral Club. I love sharing knowledge and seeing what my students create. My next step is to offer various jewelry classes for anyone who wants to learn. When it comes to branding, I came up with the name Facets and Fire because I think it really represents what I do and what I love about making jewelry. I am also very intent on keeping my jewelry affordable. I hate when jewelry companies charge 3 times what the jewelry is worth. That’s just someone trying to get rich. I know what goes into making that jewelry and in my opinion, it’s a rip-off. That’s something I will never do. My jewelry is rustic, it’s personal, and it’s one of a kind.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I haven’t been here that long, but I do have some favorite spots. Oceanside pier is great, beautiful views of the city, ocean and surfers Drive down the 101 of course Downtown Vista & Encinitas have great little shops I LOVE flea markets, and there are so many here I love driving up to Julian, it’s so pretty and of course the pie! Garcia’s Mexican in Carlsbad for food! I can never get enough Peace garden at Swami’s Otherwise just go to the beach to sit, walk and talk. It’s so calming.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh my gosh, so many people. Of course my parents! My father makes jewelry as well and they have always supported me no matter what I wanted to do. My metal smithing teacher from Chicago, Susan, who taught me everything I know. My friends, who are some of my best customers My actual customers who are supporting me and my small business My boyfriend who is my biggest champion and cheerleader, always telling people about my jewelry when I can be shy about it SD Voyager! You guys are there supporting the ‘little’ people, and because of what you do, we all will benefit

Website: www.facetsandfirejewelry.com
Instagram: facets_and_fire
Facebook: facetsandfirejewelry

Image Credits
Kelly Bennett

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.