Allison Gray has been into arts and crafts since childhood. But it was seeing—and longing for—jewelry that she couldn’t afford that inspired her to try her hand at fashioning some of her own. “I said to myself, ‘I can make this,’” recalls the Yonkers native. And so after receiving her bachelor’s from SUNY Purchase in 2005, she enrolled in jewelry-making and metalsmithing classes at Westchester Community College’s Art Workshop in White Plains.
Today, Gray balances designing and making her vintage-inspired pieces with her classes as a student in FIT’s intensive two-year jewelry-design program. Her sometimes whimsical, sometimes sweetly sentimental collection of antique-finished brass, sterling, and nickel silver jewelry frequently incorporates vintage elements. Some include old lockets, others antique buttons, and still others clip-on earrings circa mid-20th century, which she discovers in thrift shops, flea markets, and dust-covered boxes in friends’ attics. One such find—an atlas and a thesaurus from the 1940s—inspired her funky decoupage wooden bangles.
Featuring strips from the book’s actual pages, Gray’s bangle won her acclaim from New York magazine’s fashion blog. Gray’s work runs from $18 to $118, and can be purchased at soitsgray.com. Custom orders are available. P.S.: Do check out Gray’s intriguing one-of-a-kind sweater guards ($18); fashioned from pairs of old earrings, they’re perfect for keeping those flowing button-less cardigans closed in style.