It is said that crystals act as conduits for healing. An amethyst gemstone might have properties that help with addiction. A quartz crystal might help with manifestation and finding what you’re looking for. Whether you’re a proponent for the metaphysical or not, crystals are inarguably beautiful, and Jessica Kramer of Aquinnah created something that lets us all enjoy them.
Hawkhouse jewelry was founded by Kramer during her first winter on Martha’s Vineyard in 2013. The pieces are easy to spot. They’re unique copper soaked gemstones set in brassy beautiful finishes assembled for earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and keychains. The look comes from a process called electroforming, where copper grows on stones submerged in an electrochemical solution.
Long before the launch of her internationally recognized jewelry line, Kramer had an eye for crystals.
“I’d gone to mineral shows a decade before starting Hawkhouse,” Kramer said. “I had relationships with miners from all over the world.”
When she fell in love and moved to Martha’s Vineyard year-round, she knew she wanted to be an artist here.
“I was really sensitive to what other people were doing at the time,” Kramer said. “I didn’t want to do something that anyone else was doing. I made it a point to seek out something new.”
She was inspired by an electroformed lobster claw she saw, and decided to try it on some of the stones she had sitting around.
“The crystals just looked so beautiful,” Kramer said, “and each one so different.”
She started creating different pieces, selling them on Etsy, and the business snowballed quickly. She waitressed for one more summer on-Island, and then gave Hawkhouse her undivided attention.
“I spent every waking hour trying to figure out how to run an online business in the most effective way possible,” Kramer said. “That in combination with my desire to produce, and the joy I got out of making things — it was the perfect combination.”
A year and a half later, she hired help. Four women assist in production, assembly, packing, shipments, and mental health. Eco-consciousness is a defining characteristic of Hawkhouse. All materials, including the copper, stones, and packaging, are upcycled and recycled. Because of Kramer’s longtime connection to rocks and minerals, she knows where 90 percent of her stones come from, and that they’re ecologically mined. Hawkhouse is shipping anywhere from two to 120 packages per day.
“The girls I have do a different piece of the puzzle,” Kramer said. “If we get an order Wednesday, we can have it done Monday.”
Kramer handles the electroforming, website management, and marketing. She works closely with other makers and artisans to promote each other’s work.
“It’s a beautiful and organic way of advertising,” she said.
Instagram (@Hawkhouse) has been a huge marketing asset, connecting Kramer with customers and designers from all over the world. The apparel brand Free People caught wind of Hawkhouse in December 2017. They requested the business’s largest order to date.
“They ordered 4,100 rings, and said they wanted them in one month,” Kramer said. “That was a real test to how many we could make. It shows what an efficient little team I have.”
Ten different styles of Hawkhouse rings are displayed in Free People stores all over the country. Her work is also in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in five natural history museums between here and Canada, and Hawkhouse was voted among the top 10 makers for USA Today, featured on BuzzFeed, Brit + Co, and the Huffington Post. You can find her online at hawkhouse.net.
“But honestly, with all of that, my favorite is the handmade store,” Kramer said. “The little businesses built from the ground up that stayed small, and chose Hawkhouse.”
Hawkhouse can be found in 300 stores around the world. On-Island, it can be found at Driftwood in Oak Bluffs, Citrine in Vineyard Haven, and Bananas in West Tisbury. Emma Kiley, owner of Citrine, has a new space on Beach Road opening this May. It will be an artist workshop and showroom called The Annex. Hawkhouse will be one of several Island makers featured in the space throughout the season.
“I thought it would be a side job to get me through winters,” Kramer said. “I didn’t have any foresight. But I threw myself at it — I was all in and blinded with passion. I could not have dreamed it would turn into what it is now — not in my wildest dreams.”