Story by Kaitlin Boyer
Photos by: Becca Simonds
Jewelry maker and designer Katie McGinnis lives in a second-story flat in downtown Florence, Colorado. Upon entering her apartment, the unassuming quaintness of the town outside suddenly disappears, and one is taken into what feels like a chic, artsy loft in New York City. This loft is where Katie’s ideas and art are made into tangible pieces. Katie’s company, Evidence Jewelry, is handcrafted not only to tell a story, but also demonstrate personal character and grit. By using a combination of vintage and organic materials, Evidence defies conventional jewelry design by offering a medieval elegance and an archaic core.
Katie’s subtle southern drawl, sleek black hair, perfectly placed tattoos, and dark attire implies that perhaps she isn’t from the arid town of Florence. Yet after her parents moved from North Carolina to open an antique store in Florence, Katie followed shortly and immediately fell in love with Colorado. “Just seeing the mountains and having that big openness was so inspiring to me,” Katie reminisced.
Prior to her move, Katie attended school at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York for apparel design, but quickly learned that sewing was not her forte. “My bubble was burst creatively, and I didn’t know what I was going to do in life,” Katie explained. “Out of creative boredom, I just started making my own stuff because I couldn’t find anything that I really wanted.”
Soon after Katie started designing, making, and wearing her own jewelry, people began to take notice, and the orders started coming in. Fast-forward almost 7 years, and her Evidence collections are thriving, not limited to a specific crowed. “My customer base is really what stands out as different from other jewelry lines,” Katie described. “Going into it, I really thought it would be a younger, trendier crowd, and really it’s kind of all over the place. From the little old grandma to the gothic girl, the high fashion girls to the chic, classy ones.”
The handcrafting process for Katie is perhaps as unique as her clients. Straying away from mass production, Katie takes pride in the importance of each piece being made with originality. “It goes back to the initial inspiration for the line: It’s just the older ways of making jewelry, the way the Romans did it, how medieval things were made as far as casting and things like that. It will take longer for me to do it, but will still give things a one-of-a kind feel,” Katie said.
Using mixed metals, brass, antique stones, sand casting, and a chemical aging process, the Evidence pieces are made to look “a little bit like you’ve dug them out of the dirt and found some awesome treasure,” as Katie described them. Her intentions for the appearance of the line are well executed. Each piece has the look and character of surviving centuries, subtly tarnished with layers of an unknown past.
As Evidence Jewelry continues to grow, Katie has taken on a rebranding process to simplify the line and make it more cohesive to incoming additions. “Once I would think I was done with the line, another piece would pop into my head, so it’s one continuous big line for me,” she explained. Aiming on keeping her Etsy clients and boutique wholesalers priority, Katie is working daily and building a surplus so she can one day expand the business. “Every year, it’s going into more boutiques, and now that my parents have closed their store here, I have more time on my hands to just completely dedicate my life to doing that,” Katie said.
Katie’s jewelry is evidence in itself that a bright future awaits this young maker. With a magazine-worthy workspace for creating and the support from her family, Katie will undoubtedly capture an era of time that is unknown to others—collectively embellishing the story that is her art.