Our Blog

  1. Meet our Studio

    MEET OUR STUDIO

    Our big, beautiful, sun-drenched jewelry studio is our pride and joy! Meet some of the #catbirdjewelers who not only hand make all of our pieces, but also model for us!

    Made with care in our Brooklyn Studio

    Diamond Pinprick Necklace

    A white (recycled!) diamond floats from a 14k yellow, rose, or white gold chain

    Sweet Nothing Ring

    Our best selling chain as a ring! Dress your hands up with solid 14k yellow gold.

    Holy Cannoli Charm

    A cannoli with pearl filling - made fresh by our #catbirdjewelers

    Diamond Greco Lariat Earring

    A whip of gold, threaded into place with a recycled diamond button. The coolest!

  2. Catbird Spotlight: Borah

    Meet Borah, she is part of our small and mighty and wildly creative in-house design team. A trained architect turned jeweler with over a decade in the business, she shares her full circle Catbird moment, places of inspiration, and a hint (!) at something the design team has been working on, coming soon - we promise!

    How long have you worked at Catbird?

    Coming up on two years in May!

    Hometown:

    I grew up in Westchester but have lived in Brooklyn for the past 15 years

    What neighborhood do you live in?

    Clinton Hill

    What originally got you interested in jewelry?

    When I was little I LOVED going into my mom’s jewelry box and looking at all the pieces she collected over her lifetime. Each piece had a story like a small artifact from that moment in her life. I fell in love with the idea that a charm could bring back memories of childhood or an old love. It’s still my favorite thing about what I do, it’s like creating tokens for future memories.

    When you are at the jeweler's bench, which piece is your favorite to make?

    I feel like I should say one of our more sparkly pieces like the Snow Queen Ring or the Unicorn Horseshoe but I really love making Threadbares!  There’s something so meditative about the soldering and hammering. Each one carries the imprint of its maker and when I worked in the store, I loved seeing the way our customers wore them : one on every finger, a stack of 20, the most delicate wedding band… They’re also one of the first pieces our jewelers learn to make which is really special!

    What piece are you excited about right now?

    It’s an oldie but I’m ALWAYS excited about the Greco Lariat. It looks amazing on everyone and looks great both layered and on its own. And I’m extremely excited about an upcoming collaboration we’re working on with an extraordinary artist!

    Where do you look for design inspiration?

    New York City is always serving up inspiration. I am a subway ride away from some of the best museums in the world -The Met, MoMA, The Noguchi Museum, The Photo Archives at The New York Public Library. It is the setting of some of my favorite movies from the 70s through the 90s. I’m inspired by the things that stand here and feel like they will be fixed forever and by those that pass through--the rain running down your face while you do a midnight run to the bodega.

    What is your favorite material to work with?

    I love a good glowy moonstone.

    What's your favorite part of the design process?

    I love the moments right after we’ve gotten a new project or a design briefing. It feels boundless. It’s like word association but with jewelry…this kind of stream of consciousness designing where most of it makes absolutely no sense but some of it could *possibly* be something worth exploring further. It’s always interesting to see where the freedom of just throwing things out there will take you.

    Describe your journey to Catbird! (Your backgrond and how you learned your craft.)

    I've been making jewelry out of anything I could get my hands on for as long as I can remember (clay, candy wrappers, office supplies, you name it) but for one reason or another, it never occurred to me that it could be a career. It was like it was too much fun to be taken seriously. I wound up going to school for architecture and by my third year, was completely burnt out. My friend got me a job at a jewelry studio he was working at in the East Village because I couldn’t bear another summer internship behind a computer and it was there that I realized that making jewelry for a living was a very real possibility. I was so deliriously happy in that sweaty basement on 9th Street that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life. I left school not too long after to start my own line however a couple years in I was questioning my decision and thinking about going back to school to finish my architecture degree when Leigh (Catbird’s co-creative director) reached out on Etsy to ask me about carrying my line in the store. I knew about Catbird (obviously…having been a jewelry obsessed person living in Brooklyn) and after texting all caps messages to every contact in my phone and having a celebratory mid morning alcoholic beverage, I took it as a sign that I was on the right path. I had my line for 6 years and have since worked in a number of  jewelry studios and have held just about every position that exists. Being able to be at Catbird doing what I love, 10 years after they unknowingly gave me that boost of confidence to keep me doing that very thing is such a surreal and beautiful full circle moment. 

    What do you love about living and working in Brooklyn?

    I’ve gone to school, worked and lived in the same neighborhood for 15 years. My first apartment in Brooklyn was in a loft across the street from the Navy Yard and years later, one of my first jewelry studios was in that same building with a couple friends that own a furniture company who are now operating out of the same building Catbird is in at the Navy Yard. There’s just something about this community that draws in and keeps creators and creatives. The support that small businesses give each other is so uplifting and it’s so motivating to be around so many people who value creative fulfillment. I honestly don't know if my path in life would've been the same had I lived anywhere else.

    Best neighborhood spots near the Brooklyn Navy Yard?

    Oh man, there are SO MANY good restaurants in Fort Greene…Olea, La Rina, Colonia Verde…I’m also a sucker for a dive and Alibi is one of the best (worst?).

    Borah's Picks

  3. Catbird Classics Spotlight - Threadbare

     

    Our Threadbare Ring is deceptively simple. We have honed and perfected them over years and years! We are especially proud of the $44 price tag, which is especially significant as they are made with solid gold... 14k yellow & rose gold, to be exact.

     

    Threadbares are made one-by-one by #catbirdjewelers in our Brooklyn jewelry studio. We actually filmed the entire process for you - check it out here! And find out more about our Brooklyn studio here.

    Fun fact!!  In 2014, Meghan interviewed us for a story called "The Art of Stacking" on her now retired lifestyle blog The Tig !! And we've been spotting Threadbares on her hands ever since.

    Now -- let's take a look at how we are stacking them!

    Hannah ( @freshpesche ) wears a single Threadbare on her finger.

    Lindsay ( @lindsay_may ) wears Threadbares paired with other stacking rings. On her thumb she pairs a Threadbare with a Twisted Stacker Ring, and with a Famous Letter Ring on her ring finger.

    Stephanie ( @stephvlzqz ) wears a Threadbare sandwich! Two yellow gold Threadbares with a Classic Hammered Ring in the center.

    Zoe ( @zoerisherphotography ) wears a big stack of Threadbares - five, to be exact- on her ring finger! Topped off with a Dewdrop Ring.

  4. Studio Notes: The Big Little Charm Collection

    charms_gif

    The Big Little Charm Collection has been TWO YEARS in the making!

     

    It started with a short list of ideas which then turned into endless sketches & drawings by Jasmine on our design team (she is a font of ideas).


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    The list grew and grew, twisting and turning to all sorts of wonderful places.

    When it was time to decide which of the ideas to put into production, Rony and Leigh, our creative directors,  had to come up with an organizing principle beyond “this is cute!” Because.. well, they were all cute!

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    The list grew and grew, twisting and turning to all sorts of wonderful places.

    When it was time to decide which of the ideas to put into production, Rony and Leigh, our creative directors,  had to come up with an organizing principle beyond “this is cute!” Because.. well, they were all cute!

    The design team moved forward with concepts that had an element of surprise and a story, or emotional response. Pieces like the Holy Cannoli.


    And said no to pieces that would lose their sense of self in the movement from sketch to gold (for example, they didn’t think they could crack the beautiful idea of a cloud with a silver lining.)

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    The design team moved forward with concepts that had an element of surprise and a story, or emotional response. Pieces like the Holy Cannoli.


    And said no to pieces that would lose their sense of self in the movement from sketch to gold (for example, they didn’t think they could crack the beautiful idea of a cloud with a silver lining.)

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    wax_img

    From sketches, the charms are brought into 3D form with wax! Each charm went through two or three wax iterations before it was cast.

    The first casting is made in 5k gold. These rough castings are finished by hand so that additional design details could be added.

    wax_img

    From sketches, the charms are brought into 3D form with wax! Each charm went through two or three wax iterations before it was cast.

    The first casting is made in 5k gold. These rough castings are finished by hand so that additional design details could be added.

    Details like adding antennae and engraving the wings of the butterfly, or giving texture to the bottom of the mushroom cap and a toasted texture to the bagel.


    We also tinkered with modifications like where the perfect bail placement was and which tiny pearl was the right size for filling the cannoli.


    catherine_2

    Details like adding antennae and engraving the wings of the butterfly, or giving texture to the bottom of the mushroom cap and a toasted texture to the bagel.


    We also tinkered with modifications like where the perfect bail placement was and which tiny pearl was the right size for filling the cannoli.


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    From this perfected metal object, we create a mold for all future castings of 14k yellow gold and silver - the charms you will wear and love forever!

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    We hope you love the charms as much as we do! We are excited to show you more.

    xo,

    The Catbird Team

    P.S. A special shout out to Rebecca & Jasmine from our design team who have really seen this project through from start to finish - and now beyond!!



    biglittle
  5. Notes from the Wedding Annex: The Four C’s

    Notes from the Wedding Annex: The Four C’s
    The basic elements of an engagement ring are commonly referred to as “Four C’s”: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat. Of the four, Cut is arguably the most considered since it directs the shape and design of the entire ring. Though the others also play a role in your decision, we always recommend focusing on the ring as a whole.


    Here’s our short breakdown of each ‘C'. You can look to our guide to engagement ring shopping for more info and tips. Or make an appointment at the Catbird Wedding Annex for a one-on-one consultation with one of our specialists. You can even make your appointment a surprise!

    Cut
    “Cut” refers to the way the rough gem was sliced and faceted to increase its brilliance. Different cut names are a way of labeling different proportions and shapes.


    There are brilliant cut diamonds, rose cut diamonds, baguette, marquise, emerald, and pear cut diamonds... just to name a few.


    Clarity
    “Clarity” refers to how clean the stone is. All stones have natural inclusions which make them one of a kind, and there is a clarity scale in which they are graded -- from flawless FL to I3.


    Color
    Even white diamonds are graded on a color scale - there are many different hues of white. The scale runs from pure white to yellow (or D to Z).


    Carat
    Carat with a “c” is the unit of measurement used to describe the weight of a stone. Keep in mind that carat weight does not always reflect the diameter of the stone (the stone could be taller or deeper than it is wide).


    Let’s take a closer look at a few of the brilliant cut diamonds we have in our current wedding offering, available online and at the annex.

    Juno is the only swan in our line of engagement rings that features a brilliant cut white diamond center stone. Shimmering and elegant, Juno is made by hand in our Brooklyn Studio. See full details here.





    The Wandering Star Ring by Morphe is a white diamond engagement ring that dazzles - starry and sparkling like the night sky. See full details here.




    A masterful combination of vintage style with a modern edge, The Knife’s Edge Ring by Erstwhile is the epitome of brilliance. Handmade in New York. See full details here.


    • • •

    Questions about the rings above? Email [email protected], we’d love to hear from you.

    Xo
    Kristin
  6. In the Studio with Satomi Kawakita

    In the Studio with Satomi Kawakita


    Satomi Kawakita’s Tribeca atelier is a pretty perfect extension of her jewelry. Both her work and environment make use of warm colors blended with organic texture and geometric shapes. In a room supported by exposed brick walls and beams, under architectural lights, sits an oval shaped mid-century sofa and marble table. Every detail down to the leather serving coasters has a touch of Satomi’s hexagonal trademark. “I really like making and finding beautiful things; my heart beats for these things and those moments,” explains Satomi. “Even at home with friends, I like to cook for them and serve with the beautiful tableware that I have been collecting over time.” 




    Over the past 5 years, Satomi has filled Catbird with her stone and shape compositions, and adorned countless brides with their own Hexagon Ring, designed to stack in a manner of self expression. We chatted with Satomi on her beginnings, what she’s excited to be experimenting with, and of course our mutual favorite topic of conversation, food!


    You’ve been working and designing in New York since 2008. What led you to this point?  


    I graduated from Art College in Kyoto, Japan with a major in living product design. I studied not only design itself, but also how to work with and embrace different materials. In that time, I worked with wood, metal, ceramic and textile. But after watching a program on TV one day, really fell in love with the art of glass blowing and decided I needed to explore it. I began to take classes at a local studio in Osaka while still in school. Doing glassblowing for five years made me realize that I was more comfortable working on a smaller scale, with more detailed pieces, at my own pace. I started making some accessories with glass beads and found I couldn't find clasps on the market that suited the design. I thought it would be nice if I could make it myself; that's how my interest in jewelry making started. 


    What was the first piece you made that really took off?


    It would have to be my Hexagon Ring. The geometric shape is timeless and resonates with a lot of people, it's our signature. The turning point was definitely my exposure on the former blog Unruly Things, written by Alyson Brown. She introduced some of my rings on her blog at the end of August 2010 and changed my world. That, and the day Catbird started carrying my line. Both of those 2 moments happened in late 2010 and my life has never been the same since. 





    Describe your work in 3 words. 


    Organic, delicate, simple.

    Are you experimenting with any new designs? 

    I’ve been trying to make an Eternity Band with Pearls. I’ve been experimenting and trying this for years now, but haven't been entirely satisfied with the end result.  I’m not sure if I can make this happen, but let’s see, I'm tenacious. My design approach has not changed for years and I don't think it will. My line has always been designs I, myself, would wear: organic, yet timeless. But I am always looking for new materials and something fun to work with like our One-of-a-Kind series.  
      

     Who would you most like to see Satomi Kawakita on? 


    My grandmother who passed away in 2013 at the age of 100. I always wanted to make a ring for her, as the Opal ring my grandpa gave her got too loose on her skinny finger. Unfortunately, though, it never happened.


    Browsing Satomi’s Instagram, you’re bound to be as mesmerized by the pastries as you are by the gems. We had to end our interview with Satomi’s Top 5 food picks in the city. 

    Burrow, #1, of course. Ayako is an amazing artist and a great friend of mine. Not to mention the pastries are delicious. 


    Kajitsu and Brushstroke for dinner. I go there when I need to treat myself well. 


    The French Toast from Ladurée.



    I go to Hanamizuki, often, to get rice balls.

     



  7. In the Studio with Leo Black

    In the Studio with Leo Black

    “The main inspiration is always the same; I view adornment as a source of strength, compassion, and protection,” Leo notes of her approach. “It's fascinating how different cultures adorn themselves according to their own rituals and belief systems.”Introducing Leo Sachs-Michaels into the designer fold at Catbird was a long time coming. Throughout the development of her debut line, she has also been a part of our 219 Bedford Avenue crew. When Leo was ready to release Leo Black Primary Collection, we were ready to find it an early home.  

    With a BFA from Pratt Institute focused in jewelry design and metalsmithing, Leo designs at the intersection of ritual, sustainability, and personal history. Her jewelry often conveys the feeling of a found talisman with considered imperfections. Egyptian burial objects, Catholic artifacts, and Tibetan ceremonial anklets are just three sources that have informed her recent work.

    Leo took us inside her South Williamsburg studio, where she shapes brass, horn, bone, leather and gold with equal pleasure. 

    "Growing up in the Catskill Mountains, I would take walks in the forest surrounding my childhood home, where I would collect bones and natural artifacts. I remember a time my mother helped me string a small animal spinal column I'd found onto a colorful shoelace. That was the first necklace I ever made."

    "I dream of eventually living near Joshua Tree, having a studio out in the desert, and even a horse or two."
    "The collection provides bold shapes and powerful animals symbols that I hope the wearer will gain power and bravery from wearing."

    Leo Black Primary Collection is now available at catbirdnyc.com and in our Williamsburg storefront. 

    xo,
    Sriya


  8. In the Studio with Captain Blankenship

    In the Studio with Captain Blankenship
    We all have our beauty rituals and mine tend to lean towards the indulgent. Enter: face masks! When your schedule (or wallet, or both) doesn't allow for facials, masking is undeniably the next best thing. And it falls under indulgent behavior because it's a reason to sit perfectly still and quiet, beverage in hand, and maybe a hot towel in hair. 

    My new mask is from Catbird's longtime friend Jana Blankenship. You've heard about her from us before, under her magic-brewing alias Captain Blankenship. Through her namesake apothecary line, created in the Hudson Valley region, Jana makes organic products with lush, natural scents and luxurious ingredients. 

    Jana recently released the Mermaid Detox Face Mask. Open the jar and you're in a kelp and seaweed soaked world, but one that's mixed with the scent of floral essential oils. "I really wanted to introduce masks to the line and had been planning for a long time on a seaweed and french green clay based mask, but kept refining it until it became the powerful Mermaid Detox Mask, " explains Jana of her early experiments. "I was really excited to add in the organic Matcha tea, which helps fight inflammation and rejuvenates skin cells." 

    So what's in this little glass jar exactly? The mix of bladderwrack, kelp and spirulina is the mineral blend that draws out your skins impurities. Add in powdered nettles and you have an antioxidant astringent to smooth and tone your skin's surface. And french green clay to firm and inject a glow. At home, I pour two table spoons into a small dish, sprinkle in water and paint on a generous layer with my fingertips. 
    When Jana isn't working alongside her 3-person crew in a studio overlooking the mountains, she's exploring her upstate backdrop. She made a list of her favorite places, for a kitten's weekend escape from NYC! 

    p.s. Pack your Mermaid Mask

    CAPTAIN BLANKENSHIP'S UPSTATE WEEKEND

    HOTEL The Graham & Co is a really cool hotel in beautiful Phoenicia. It is right near the Esopus River where you can go tubing and cool off, plus they have a nice pool. Phoenicia is very cute and has great food, including the cult Phoenicia Diner. They also put on an incredible event called the Phoenicia Flea several times a year that Captain Blankenship has participated in. 

    RESTAURANT: The Corner at the Hotel Tivoli. It is my favorite. It is in a beautiful inn with decor that is 80s amazing, so bright and celebratory. The farm to table food and cocktails are on par with the best in NYC. 

    CAFE Karma Road in New Paltz. Great vegan cafe with delicious prepared foods, juices and smoothies. The vegan pizza is a favorite. Perfect on your way to/from hiking! 

    FARMER'S MARKET The Westwind Orchard in Accord is the place to go for organic apples and the best pizza in the Hudson River Valley. Laura and Fabio who run the orchard are the sweetest and everything about their property is magical. They are starting to screen movies outside on Saturday nights. 

    HIKING TRAIL I have so many favorites! This summer, since I am very pregnant, I have been wanting a short hike and a swim. I have been making almost daily pilgrimages to Minnewaska State Park and the Peter's Kill Trail, which ends in a beautiful little waterfall that my daughter calls the "swimming pool." 

    xo,
    Sriya 
  9. In the Studio with Shiva Rose

    In the Studio with Shiva Rose

    With the first jar of Shiva Rose glow balm that arrived at Catbird, we all fell hard. Not an easy thing given our varied preferences, and general desire to keep our beauty routines uninterrupted until the next truly special thing comes along. 

    Against ivory packaging is a single rose traced in watercolor shades of pink and embossed gold - the prettiest teaser to what’s inside. You first note the scent, both distinctly and subtly rose. Rosehip seed oil, shea butter, and coconut oil at the base creates the smooth texture, which can be applied generously for a dew glow, or sparingly as a sheer highlighter against the collar and cheekbones. 

    Iranian-born, LA-based naturalist Shiva Rose, whose name is almost too perfectly aligned with her nature to really even mention, created her line of rose oil based apothecary after a bigger personal shift. “I truly made the natural world a priority seven years ago after a few life changes. I was getting a divorce, raising two daughters, overcoming health issues and needed to get closer to simplicity and to the earth. When we strip ourselves bare and get into the wilderness we become closer to the source of all things and therefore our souls,” Shiva explains of her found connection to nature. 

    For now, her Santa Monica home serves as her studio, where she creates the alchemy for her line. “I am meeting with some organic labs as my line expands, and hopefully will be able to collaborate with one,” she says of plans for growth. Though she’s a team of one in her studio, when it comes to sourcing her botanicals and oils, Shiva is careful to nurture the right relationships. “ This is so vital to me, to know the farmers who grow my ingredients.”



    We asked for a peek at what’s to come, because we were really curious but mostly because we’re fast approaching the bottom of our first glow balm jars. “I am using some secret ingredients that were used by Cleopatra and an Asian Empreses. I cannot wait to reveal the ingredients to you. I suppose this will be my dream apothecary,” Shiva says of a new cleanser and eye cream out this fall. 



    In the meantime, Shiva's blog The Local Rose is updated daily with recipes, stories, tips, and products that embrace mindful living. And Shiva Rose Glow Balm is now available at Catbird.

    xo,

    Sriya
  10. In the Studio with Apoteker Tepe


    For perfumer Holladay Saltz, the differentiating core between the meaningful and the material lies in the ability to inject intention, artistry and a little irreverence into the process. Looking past the conventions of the big fragrance players, she composes with rare and natural materials, for a contemplative experience that is unique to each. 

    Curious about her approach and one-woman operation, we asked Holladay to give us a glimpse into her new Rhode Island studio, where she conceptualizes and batches her line, Apoteker Tepe. Here's what we found. 

    On the path to being a maker.  

    I went to art and design school, then onto a stint at a wonderful but short-lived think tank doing research into the future of publishing, then to private-sector tech startups when the bottom fell out of the economy. That was a turning point. Fast-forward to 2013 and I was the creative director for a company whose sole purpose was making toss-away marketing sites that no one, not even the clients, cared about. It felt terrible and frightening, but I came to the conclusion that I needed to jump off the train. I’d been working with fragrance for some time, had always been fascinated by the sense of smell, and I longed to make something with my hands without the use of a screen.

    Apoteker was and is a continued exploration. Fragrance and smell are often overlooked as avenues to meaning, but they are incredibly visceral and ancient - nothing affects people in quite the same way, literally, as smell.

    Everyone has their own relationship with scent, but there are things Holladay hopes you take away from hers. 

    People find meaning in different places at different times, and one of the lovely and terrifying things about putting something subjective into the world is that once it leaves you, you can’t really control it anymore, nor should you try. However, I hope that when someone smells a fragrance I create they are reminded of something they might have forgotten until that moment; I hope it makes them pay attention to something they may not have otherwise noticed. 


    She looks for the rare. 

    The fragrance industry is extremely old and mostly controlled by a few corporations who manufacture not only ‘fine’ fragrance but everything from detergent to flavors for processed foods. Making real money in fragrance, like most other physical things in the current age, is dependent on volume and consistency. Having volume and consistency means that you cannot use raw materials that are very expensive, and that these materials must also be entirely consistent from batch to batch. The extension of this is that in your average department store fragrance you have almost no natural materials— everything is synthetic. Natural materials are beautiful and complex (there are nearly 500 aroma molecules that make up the smell of a rose), and importantly, variable. They have personalities, and they are not merely the sum of their parts. I think it’s a loss when we no longer know the smell of jasmine or orris, only their reconstituted elements. Being small and independent means I can focus on quality and on uncovering something people may not have experienced before. It also means there is a limit to how much Apoteker can grow, but I completely accept it.

    Interestingly enough, Holladay wears fragrance almost exclusively while she is formulating one. Though she still has her favorites, yet to be extracted and bottled! 

    There are things I always want to smell: dark wet earth, salt air, and the still, hot interior of old churches in the summer.



    Now available at Catbird are three of Apoteker Tepe’s debut scents. Explore here or stop by the shop for a dab. 

    xo,
    Sriya



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