Name: Jennifer Briggs Jenkins
Husband: Jared Jenkins
Kids: Wilson, 11, Caleb, 7
Mom icon: Heidi Klum
Favorite song in my iPod: Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons
Words to live by: “Always tell the truth,” and “Don’t knock it until you try it!”
How I unwind: Sitting in front of a cozy fire with friends and family and a glass of wine.
Facebook: Yes: J Briggs & Co.
Twitter: Not yet
When Custom Fine Jewelry Designer Jen Briggs Jenkins and her family pulled up stakes in Illinois and headed to Shrewsbury in 2005, she didn’t think the move would be permanent. But six years later, she has settled in, put down roots, and recently opened her own studio in Northborough.
Jenkins is the owner of J. Briggs & Co., a successful, client-driven custom jewelry business founded in 1997. She works closely with clients to create meaningful jewelry for special occasions including engagements, weddings, births and anniversaries. Birthstone jewelry is her special focus and she is currently working on a line of customizable family jewelry.
Growing up in the Midwest, Jenkins always loved to create jewelry. Her passion began to unfold when she began working with beads during her childhood in Ohio. She sold her first pieces at the Akron General Hospital’s gift shop when she was only 8 years old, and she has never looked back, continuing to follow her passion for jewelry design throughout her teenage years at Cranbrook Kingswood, a boarding school in Michigan that offered classes in jewelry design and metalsmithing.
At Indiana University, Jenkins earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design. She spent her junior year studying in Florence, Italy. During her fourth year, she met future husband Jared, from rival Purdue University, and they married in 1999. Their first son was born in 2000, and her jewelry work slowed, although she continued to create pieces for family and friends and became a Certified Gemologist in 2005.
With only a week’s notice, the Jenkins family moved to Shrewsbury 2005 for Jared’s job, thinking the move was temporary. Instead, they found that they loved it here and decided to stay.
A mom to two energetic boys, Jenkins has always made room for some sort of studio in a garage or basement, but only recently was she able to open a separate studio space in Northborough where she can devote more time to her jewelry.
“The way I see it is that my business has been on simmer for 10 years while focused on being a good mom,” she said. “Last summer I decided it was time to stoke the fire.”
Her new studio is more than just a workspace—Jenkins now has a place to meet with clients. She refers to it as her “haven,” and said, “It also offers a great opportunity for my boys to witness what it means to follow your passion and be happy with your work.”
Although she used to work on every aspect of a piece herself, once she had kids and her business started to grow, Jenkins realized she wouldn’t have enough time to execute every step of the process.
Now, once she has designed a piece using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, she works with a master craftsman in Chicago who does her casting and finishing work, and he collaborates with a master stone setter and hand engraver to create the quality pieces for Jenkins.
For Jenkins, being able to design jewelry in her own studio is the realization of a dream. But in the end, it always comes back to the client.
“Creating jewelry that symbolizes an important event or person in someone’s life can often be an emotionally sensitive time for a client,” Jenkins said. She works with the client for the period of time necessary to ensure the piece is exactly what he or she desires.
“All our interaction and collaboration before actually receiving the jewelry is directly tied to the emotional response they will always have when they wear that piece," she said. "It is important that I share in their excitement and emotion, but that is easy for me because I love it.”
To learn more call 508-466-8465.