Interview Series: Mary Ray

Meet Mary Ray, fine jewelry designer and local Austinite with impeccable taste!

Hey Mary! So, first things first: how did you end up in fine jewelry? 

Hey Brittani! Well, I absolutely love jewelry! I was living and working in San Francisco when I stumbled across a metal fabrication workshop at a small art school in Oakland, called The Crucible. I enjoyed working with my hands so much that I quickly enrolled in a full-time metalsmithing program at The Revere Academy of Arts. I didn’t really have a plan, I just immersed myself in my passion and the rest evolved naturally. The first ring I made was my organic circle ring. Every time I would wear it people would ask where they could find this ring, so I decided to start my line of fine jewelry.

We’ve been carrying your collection of fine jewelry, Mary Ray, for a few years now; what are your personal favorites? Which ones would you buy for your best friend? 

My personal favorites change, but I do wear my stack of ripple rings every day along with my hoop earrings. I adore my best friends and spoil them with pieces that complement their style.  My wavy pavé bands are fun for friends because they easily stack with their existing ring collections. I also love to gift my marquis hoops, they’re easy for every day.

Your home is stunning. We heard that you’ve been doing all the interior design yourself — so impressive! What are some of your biggest influences when you’re decorating your home? 

Thanks so much! I studied Interior Design in college at FIDM. This was my first love but also very challenging designing for myself. My husband and I collaborated on every aspect of the design process and had help from our architect, Tina Contros. My biggest influences in design come from travel, but I also pour through design books and magazines. Kelly Wearstler is a designer that I admire very much as well.

We love the way you’re able to so effortlessly morph from clean and casual in your white tee and Re/Done’s to a more upscale look in a full Calvin Klein 205W39NYC look. What are you most comfortable in and what brands are on your list when you’re checking out ByGeorge?

I love Dries Van Noten for a statement jacket or blouse. I also love Chloé and The Row. Too many amazing designers to mention and I always grab a new pair of jeans when I swing by the store!

Your family is so cool. Tell us something fun all of you like to do together in Austin! 

We’re excited for summer! We spend a lot of time in the pool, grilling with friends. My husband and son also love to go to Deep Eddy. We probably spend the majority of our weekends trying new restaurants. 

With regards to your style, how would you describe it? What is something you’d put on every day if you could? 

Casual best describes my style, but I do love to funk it up sometimes. I live in jeans and a white tee, but I mix up my basics with cool jackets or kimonos. I would probably wear heels every day if I could, but not the best idea in the studio!

Finally, what is your inspiration for you upcoming collection (which we are so excited about!)? 

Thank you!  I am so excited about my latest jewelry collection.  My inspiration came from a love of 70’s fashion. The designs are clean and minimal with a focus on the stone. You can wear my jewelry casually in the day, then throw on a cool jumper or dress for evening for a pop of color. 

Shop Mary Ray in store now

Interview by Brittani Lepley
Photography by Alexandra Valenti