A new jewelry shop has opened in downtown Ballard called Byrne Brightly.
Byrne Brightly is the creation of MK Byrne, who moved her Boston shop to Ballard. The new shop is at 2108 NW Vernon Place, next to Studio RA.
Byrne came to Seattle in January looking for a place to put down roots, and told the Ballard Alliance she felt drawn to Ballard: “…the bustling outdoor dining and the lights in the trees and the laughter on the street. I came back on Sunday for the farmer’s market, and then had the most wonderful conversation about the irreplaceable experience of in-person retail with Ramona, the owner of Studio RA.”
Byrne has a business school degree, and managed a small jewelry store after graduating. She discovered she “had a knack for creating experience in a retail setting” and felt draw to becoming a small business owner. She taught herself to make jewelry, and not long after, began her own jewelry line. After selling in farmer’s markets in Boston, she eventually opened her first retail location in Boston in 2019.
For the creative process, Byrne says she usually starts off with a sketch of a general idea she wants the jewelry to look like. She always thinks about how it feels to wear the pieces and the weight of the jewelry instead of focusing on just the look.
“I love the adventure of transforming metal with a few simple tools and how ideas evolve as skills develop. Jewelry is the perfect intersection of engineering, art, and story telling,” Byrne told the Alliance. “My biggest influence aesthetically came from a trip to Japan – there I learned the strength of simplicity, how to celebrate imperfection, and a sensitivity to the spirit each material carries. I seek to create a peaceful, nourishing space where visitors discover something unexpected and delightful.”
Byrne explained how she also creates custom jewelry pieces for ceremony or bridal commissions. Customers can bring an inspiration piece from what they want or can view a piece already in the shop. After having a conversation with the customer she can get an idea and feel for what the customer wants.
“I do a lot of one-of-a-kinds. Part of the reason last year when everything was going online, I really knew I wanted an in-person retail store,” Byrne said.
The inspiration for creating her pieces comes from different sources, including the natural world. “I was walking on the beach and saw the strand of seaweed and thought I need to make metal look like that piece of seaweed and it needs to be an earring,” said Byrne. “It’s a lot of trial and error with hammering and shaping.”
The pieces in stock include necklaces, earrings, and bracelets made from metal and stones.
“A huge thank you to the Ballard community, I really cant tell you how touched I been by the welcome and support from the business owners and people who live in the community,” said Byrne. “This is a really special place and I’m really grateful to have landed here.”
Byrne—and her assistant shopkeeper/puppy Ashitaka—sell jewelry from her line, along with some work from other jewelers and a few candles, plants, incense, and soaps.
Stay up to date by checking out MK Byrne’s jewelry store’s Instagram page @byrne.brightly and website here.
Photo: Byrne Brightly on Instagram