Ten Years of Threadbare
To celebrate ten years of the Threadbare Ring, we released the Threadbare Bangle. We've honed the Threadbare over years — it's quintessentially Catbird, deceptively simple, 100% recycled solid 14k gold and each one made one-by-one by Catbird jewelers in our Brooklyn studio. We've sold over 50,000 of them (!) including a stack to an American actress who married into a royal family. The other 49,997 or so, are worn by neighbors, visitors, and kittens around the world.
We’ve asked some of our longtime friends, customers, Giving Fund partners, and our team to photograph themselves wearing the Threadbare Bangle. We wouldn’t be here without you.
Lisa Lucas is senior vice president at Knopf Doubleday, and a former executive director of the National Book Foundation.
Jewelry is just another way to express myself. I'm a little bit dramatic, a little bit girly, a little bit over the top, and layering on different jewelry--some vintage, some heirlooms, some just for funsies, is a way to tell a story about who I am, who I came from, and who I want to be on any given day.
On the day my father passed away, I wanted to get something that I would wear forever, that would always remind me of him. While he was in the hospital, he gave my stepmother a Catbird bracelet for Mother's Day, so I picked up (in tears) the Angel Hair Bracelet. I've worn it every day since and I'm so happy to think of him, always, when I look at my wrist. He would have thought it was beautiful.
Rebecca Porcelli is a jewelry designer and trained metalsmith, currently leading Catbird's design and product development team. She started her career as a Catbird bench jeweler in the earliest iteration of our in-house studio. 8 years at Catbird.
My very first Catbird purchase was a yellow gold top knuckle Tomboy that I still wear in a little stack with a Mignon Memory ring and Twisted Stacker.
Wing Yin Yau is a former sculptor and performance artist, and the creator of Wwake, a celebrated line of tonal and geometrically driven pieces made consciously and 100% women led.
I've been working with Catbird since 2014 – that's 8 years! This was the year after I had started making fine jewelry, and I've always felt that Leigh took a leap of faith on my first collection. There were a lot of things I still needed to work out with my jewelry, and working together has made my work so much stronger, so much more purposeful because when we work together, we're part of a greater Catbird community. I've learned a lot about myself in the process – from how to be a stronger designer to how to run a company the way I believe it should be run. It's been a beautiful little journey, Catbird & I!
Leigh Plessner is Catbird's creative director, shaping the brand narrative, design and creative direction since almost Day 1. 16 years at Catbird.
The Threadbare was born out of the glimmer of an idea, and we tugged at it, like silk from a spider’s web, until it was whole.
I was 32 when we first launched the Threadbare, and now at 42 my hands do not look quite the same. It’s a gift to me to see how beautiful the stack of Threadbares I’ve given her over the years look on my mother-in-law, who celebrates her 70th birthday this week. To quote Paula Fox from her interview in The Paris Review, "Oh, I want to be used up. As Tennyson had it, Not to rust, but to shine with use."
Phyllis Smith holds the all time highest attendance rate for Catbird events - including our book club! She wears her Catbird pieces so thoughtfully and is a fellow snail enthusiast.
My jewelry is such a part of who I am and always gives hints of the story that is me… I literally have NO idea what my first purchase from Catbird was, there have been so many lovely pieces. I would have to say the most significant was my 20th wedding anniversary ring. And the little charms which I adore. Still waiting for my snail charm..lol
Natalia Rodriguez is a jewelry designer and trained metalsmith who brings her expertise in production process and fine jewelry education to Catbird as head of our jewelry studio's training department - where each Catbird jeweler works with her team to develop their skills. 8 years at Catbird.
My first Catbird purchase was the (now discontinued) Alphabet Ring: 3 of them- my husband's initial, my initial and a heart! It's a romantic stacking ring that I still wear.
Robin Adams is the founder and creator of Bittersweets, where she designs from everyday objects, love and loss, darkness and light. For almost as long as there has been Catbird, we've carried Robin's pieces - linked in our business and a deep friendship from the start.
Bittersweets NY had been open for about a year on Broadway, near Kent Ave in Brooklyn and I used to walk past Catbird on my way to work from the L train. It occurred to me, that maybe Catbird would be open to carrying some of my pieces even though I had a shop so close by. I sent Rony an email in January of '07, and she was so sweet, & easy to work with from the very start. I used to deliver every order myself, and chat with the Birdettes, where Leigh became an instant friend! Over the years, Leigh & Rony have been instrumental on shaping how Bittersweets NY grew, in tandem with the stratospheric growth of Catbird! I'm so proud of them and their success!
The Bittersweeties are Catbird's biggest cheerleaders! There is no other shop we'd rather work with. I came across an email I wrote to Rony, just after I had dropped off my first delivery, that simply said, "I'm so happy to be in your beautiful store! xoxo Robin" I couldn't say it better, now, after all these years! MWAH! -R
Genne Laakso is a jeweler and metalsmith. She currently leads product knowledge & education for every Catbird team member, and launched our first accredited apprenticeship program aimed at creating diversity within the jewelry industry. 9 years at Catbird.
My first Catbird purchase was Ballerina Earrings for my amazing mom! I mailed them to her for the holidays - she was floored!
Jill Kargman is an author, writer, actress. Her assured personal style and bawdy humor make her a dream Catbird woman - and she is in fact one of our first and lasting customers.
Jewelry is a way to add a little sparkle and that’s why I love Catbird: it’s restraint. I’m not a flashy huge cocktail ring girl with lots of metal - it’s the dainty stuff that makes me swoon not some Kardashified chunk.
My first Catbird purchase was the Chained to my Heart Earring - it’s been knocked off by a thousand losers but I’m happy to have the original.
Becky Straw is the founder and CEO of The Adventure Project, a Catbird Giving Fund philanthropic partner and a visionary in creating impactful jobs for women in developing communities.
As the Co-Founder of The Adventure Project, I have been lucky enough to see Catbird's impact firsthand. Catbird's Giving Fund has helped hundreds of women and children in Uganda and Togo gain access to lifesaving health care and critical medicines. Your generosity has done this by training dozens of women to become health care workers, making them essential to their families and society. The health needs of pregnant women and children living in extreme poverty are often ignored and put last. So it is incredibly humbling to see Catbird put women and children first.
Rony Vardi is the founder of Catbird - she opened the business first as a tiny Brooklyn shop, where early lessons on point of view, conscious design, and jewelry as a joyous experience continue to guide our growth.
The Threadbare is so easy and personal. Like a beautiful secret to yourself. My memory in creating the Threadbare was that we wanted the slimmest flash of gold - like a single strand of hair gleaming in the sumer sun. It's unfussy and casual, beautiful and restrained. It’s deceptively simple. Also, of course, it’s handmade in our own Brooklyn studio with recycled gold.
Nancy Kraskin makes each handworked piece of jewelry in her Brooklyn studio - which also happens to be her kitchen! A favorite tradition is that she still drops off every package to the shop in person.
I came across the first Catbird shop when it was on Metropolitan Ave. on the southside in Williamsburg. Back then, I lived a few blocks away and it was a time where there were a few cool boutiques that dotted the area.
I was working freelance jobs while making jewelry in my apartment, so in my freetime I was able to take walks and check out new shops. The original Catbird shop on Metropolitan Ave had a cool mix of clothes, jewelry and clothes - cute things. This is where my journey with Catbird began.
Being a part of Catbird’s migration to Bedford Avenue and witnessing the evolution from the early beginnings to present day has been nothing but enchanting.
I have made friendships with so many of the different iterations of staff members over the years of dropping off parcels of my work and having conversations.
That’s my favorite part, the live convos and getting to know people.
I love the light glimmer and delicacy of the Threadbare bracelet. It reminds me of the sun making sparkles on the ocean with lightest breeze.
I can look down and have that at all times when I’m wearing it.
Sriya Karumanchi started at Catbird as our first in-house publicist, and now leads our marketing & communications team - alongside partnerships for The Catbird Giving Fund. 7 years at Catbird.
My very first purchase was a Sweet Nothing Choker - just as it was released. We’ve sold so many since but in my memory, I purchased the very first one as soon as it went online. My style has evolved a few times since but this choker always fits in.
Jennie Kwon is a classical violinist and attorney turned fine jewelry designer. Founding her namesake line shortly after the birth of her twins, her designs reflect her desire for a rebirth of creativity.
Catbird was my very first retailer and found me within a month after I started my jewelry line, 8 years ago. This was in the era of blogs. I was written up in a tiny little blog based in Oregon and through that, our relationship was born and we've been together ever since.
I emerged from nowhere- from a background in law and music, without a single connection to anyone in the jewelry world. I came in naive and fresh, designing without any influence from the industry, and Catbird embraced this and believed in me as a designer. It's been a truly beautiful journey growing together and watching our relationship continue to deepen and evolve.