One Word, Many Meanings: Jamie Hollier

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Jamie Hollier

Balefire Goods

Arvada, Colorado

Jamie Hollier first fell in love with metalwork and jewelry thanks to her exposure to metalwork in her grandfather’s machine shop, jewelry in her great aunt’s antique shop, and going to art shows with her mother. Although she studied art history and metalsmithing in college, her career took her into the tech world. Eventually, she realized she needed a change and was ready to return to her love for metalsmithing and jewelry. She decided to create a place for artisan-made, responsibly sourced, unique jewelry and her company Balefire was born in 2017.

What does responsible design mean to you?
For us, the idea of responsible design is having knowledge about the sourcing of the materials you’re using (both gems and metal) and the impact that those items have (both from an environmental and socioeconomic point of view), along with conditions of the shop where those items are used to create jewelry.

How do you incorporate responsibility into your jewelry-making practices?
One of our biggest things is sourcing. We are fortunate to have connections and relationships with different responsible gem dealers who vet their stones. We use a lot of recycled materials—both from clients and from refiners offering certified recycled metals. We always look to see if there are certain tools and techniques that we can use that are safer and will expose us to less chemicals. Finally, we make sure we treat our employees and staff with humanity and respect as craftspeople and individuals.

Why is being responsible important to you?
It’s always been my thing. Before I opened my company, I worked in the fashion industry. There are some really negative, awful things in the way that clothing is made and the amount of trash that’s produced in the industry that will never go anywhere. It made me more thoughtful of my purchasing and I got really involved with responsible sourcing. When I decided to open Balefire, I wanted to do the same thing. I’ve always been anti-fast fashion, and now in jewelry, too. I’m trying to do the opposite of that.