The Texas State Capitol building, located in Austin, Texas, is hailed as a National Historic Landmark.
The nearly 130-year-old structure is currently the largest capital building in the United States. Texas is also home to featured jewelry designer Kendra Scott.
Like many jewelry designers, Scott used income from a full-time job as an advertising executive to facilitate her jewelry-making hobby. Upon the birth of her first child she decided to quit her job.
Whenever time permitted, Scott managed to handcraft a small collection of items using $500 worth of semi-precious gemstones.
She kept her treasures in a tea box for safekeeping not knowing they would soon serve as the launching pad into a creatively and financially satisfying career.
"When I started my business it was during a tough financial spot," she recalls. "My husband had lost his job and even though I felt a little lost I took my little tea box with my baby boy in tow, and went door-to-door to Austin boutiques.
They were receptive and bought my pieces and then I got a call from a sale's rep in Dallas who wanted to represent the line. It has been uphill from there. My first big account was with Nordstrom!"
Eight years later, Scott's retailer base has broadened to Henri Bendel, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale's. Despite the high-end names, Scott keeps her collections affordable.
"People are looking for value and quality more than ever. I make a point to source stones directly and to come up with creative designs. I feel my jewelry has the same design quality and structural integrity as pieces costing twice or three times as much."
The natural beauty of stones like blue quartz, emerald jade and orange chalcedony, floral shapes, and seemingly varied cultural influences inspires Scott's design style. The name choices for her pieces such as Albena (a city in Bulgaria), Azura (an African boutique), and Davina (a development near Panama) suggest exotic locales and international intrigue.
Working primarily with 14-karat gold-plated brass, sterling silver, and gunmetal, Scott fashions jewelry pieces that are differentiated; some forms are classic and elegant like her Rori Delicate Chain Swag Necklace while others like her Pella and Salome Cuffs are bold, statement-making pieces.
"If you don't want attention then don't buy my jewelry," says Scott, "Our designs are trend-based at the same time, however, they have a distinct personality."
With the success of her company, Kendra Scott Jewelry, Scott strives to maintain symmetry by keeping a balance between career and family. Now the mother of two, she makes sure to keep her schedule flexible.
She also uses her success to help others, and is a board member of the Austin non-profit organization, LifeWorks, which "provides services to homeless and at-risk youth and their families."
"Our summer White Party fundraisers are patterned after those given in the Hamptons, and we attract a dynamic group of people. The goal is to raise as much as we can for LifeWorks while also making important connections and contacts."
Scott's ethereal bijouterie is featured regularly in publications like Glamour, O Magazine, InStyle, and Town and Country.
In 2007, the designer received the Texas Women's Chamber of Commerce Rising Star Award. She currently has showrooms in Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta as well as Dallas, and Austin, Texas.
For more on Scott's jewelry, watch SpotEdge Media's 2007 promotional video for the designer.
Photo 1 (top right): Gunmetal-Plated Brass Filigree Ainsley Cuff Bracelet
Photo 2 (bottom left): 14-Karat Gold-Plated Brass Neil Bib Statement Necklace in White Lily