There are many things touted as “fresh made” and local on Alberta Street, but few of them are made of steel. The grand opening of Grayling Jewelry last weekend will fix that. Grayling, a seven-year-old Portland company created by Katy Kippen, has been softly open on the artsy street for more than a month, but the grand opening weekend brought extra bling with it: the big reveal of Kippen’s first-ever line of rings.
Kippen’s calling card is her Portland-proud approach. Every piece—mixed-metal chains, crystal pendants, architectural earrings, and layered bracelets—is made by hand in the back of the Alberta shop. You can see the sleek workstations behind a granite counter when you walk in. It’s like sitting at the counter of Le Pigeon, except here, five women work their alchemy on spools of chain and loose Swarovski pearls (yes, Swarovski does pearls).
Grayling’s “refined roughness” has been an influence in Portland since before Kippen launched the brand in 2009. She and friends like Betsy Cross and Tiffany Bean met for wine nights to bounce around ideas—back when they had time for that. Now, Cross runs Betsy & Iya, Bean just celebrated 10 years of her Mabel & Zora boutique, and Kippen is jumping into the retail market with hopes to expand internationally within the year.
Before anyone cries “sell-out,” don’t. Kippen says her loyalty to Portland is iron-clad. Even as Grayling grows, every textured chain bracelet and layered necklace will still be made right behind the Alberta shop’s granite counter. The Alberta location is especially close-to-home, says Kippen—it’s right around the corner from the family home of her mentor, local jewelry-making legend John Rink, who died earlier this year.
“Fresh jewelry, made daily,” reads the sign outside the new store. On the sidewalk, diamonds drawn in kid’s sidewalk chalk lead into the store. Inside, it looks fresh. Tall windows, light granite displays, airy white walls and an orchid by the check-out. The best thing? You can try everything on for free, unlike the many baked goods made on Alberta.
1609 NE Alberta St.
Featured Image: Grayling’s new Alberta location / Enid Spitz