SUN & SELENE FOUNDER BRITTANNY DERAFFELE BUILDS A MODERN JEWELRY BRAND BASED ON ANCIENT HISTORY
SUN & SELENE FOUNDER BRITTANNY DERAFFELE DISCUSSES HOW HER INTEREST IN ANCIENT HISTORY AND THE HISTORY OF JEWELRY MAKING INSPIRED THE BRAND TODAY.
Credit: Brittanny DeRaffele | IG: @sunandselene | Brittanny DeRaffele, Founder of Sun & Selene
Affirm Noire| August 20, 2021
Our obsession with adornment didn't start with Run-D.M.C.'s gold chains. In fact, the first jewelry known to man was made from sea shells and sea shell beads thousands and thousands of years ago. The history of jewelry is as long as the pockets of those buying it. Currently, wealthy people are splurging on jewelry during the COVID-19 pandemic out of boredom and the inability to travel! The online jewelry market is expected to amount to $19.88 billion by 2024. Jewelry's grand history is also why Sun & Selene founder Brittanny DeRaffele (she/her) decided to make it the centerpiece in her own story. Sun & Selene is based in Richmond, Virginia.
Brittanny began practicing metalsmithing 12 years ago. At the time, she was finishing her studies at Radford University. She chose an introductory course in the specialization to make up for missing elective credits in her fashion merchandising and design program. She has been developing the craft ever since.
"I was hooked on day one," she recalled of her days as a college student.
Ultimately, I had a vision of taking my love and education of fashion and its industry as a whole and combining it with the craft of metal work and jewelry making. When I was able to develop my skills as a trained jeweler and goldsmith, I had such a deeper love and understanding of the craft. I love the process and learning new things, and it’s been such a full circle journey. I’m able to use so much of what I studied in school to continue to grow the business.
Furthermore, Brittany had a few years of experience working part-time in a jewelry store. She loved learning about the pieces, different stones, and examining vintage and estate pieces on the job. As she furthered her education and strengthened her experience, she became enamored with the origins of jewelry.
"The history of metalwork was and is so fascinating to me," she said. "This idea that ancient civilizations created works of art in metal and stone that lasted the test of time and were made with such detail and care long before the convenience of modern tools and techniques," she continued. "My inspiration grew from the history of the craft, the influence of the sun and moon in our natural world, mythology and astrology, and being able to translate these ideas and motifs into wearable art."
Selene, the goddess and ancient personification of the moon, was Brittanny's muse for the first ring in her first collection. However, after her vision had manifested into the line it is today, Brittanny entered the competitive environment of entrepreneurship two years ago with more than metal hammering skills in tow. Since launching her studio and retail space two years ago she hasn't outsourced for web design, product photography, print materials and packaging, or social media and branding. She grew Sun & Selene's Instagram following to 12.3K while keeping these marketing and communications initiatives in-house.
"I have background experience in graphic design and have been able to use that to help build my business from a part-time hustle to my full-time career," she mentioned. "A big portion of what’s helped make my brand a success is attention to detail and a strong branding that really invokes the energy of the collection. With full creative control over the little things, I’ve learned that they make a big impact."
And a big impact is exactly what Brittanny is hoping to make with Sun & Selene in the upcoming couple of months.
"I hope to bring on my first part time production assistant this year, as I am gearing up for some amazing projects and events for the coming Fall," she shared. "I have so many big dreams and plans for the near future, and it’s always so exciting watching these ideas manifest and come to life. Next stop-an expanded production space and getting back to more in person retail experiences. Stay tuned!"
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