It isn’t uncommon for a young girl in the throes of playing dress-up at Grammy’s house to become enamored with old costume jewelry—especially when it’s in abundance and stored in a large, red purse. For Meg Carroll, her grandmother’s impressive collection of jewelry helped form the basis of a lifelong love of art, fashion and detail that has thus far found its greatest expression in the creation of her custom-made, fine jewelry.
Originally from Long Island, Meg’s first stab at a major in college led her to Fashion Merchandising in London, England. It was after a basic metals course at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, however, that she was hot on the trail of a Jewelry Design degree, enthralled once again with jewelry. Gone was the lone desire to dress up. The thrill of design and making had found its way into the mix.
Intensive coursework in design and metal-smithing followed at FIT, and she earned her AAS. A stint at a mom and pop jewelry store in Vermont gave her further opportunity to hone her skills as a craftsperson, repairer, custom designer and maker. She enrolled in a trade school in Brooklyn and began work on her own collection, and then after some traveling, made her way to Blaine Lewis and his New Approach School for Jewelers. Throughout it all, in whatever city she was living, Meg spent thousands of hours diligently perched atop the jeweler’s bench in her bedroom, tools and materials in hand. After moving to the Bluegrass in 2011, she opened Meg C Jewelry Gallery in 2012.
Her work has quickly become a celebrated part of the Lexington downtown arts scene. Still marked by the whimsy and wonder she found in jewelry as a young child, her pieces now also embody remarkable symmetry enhanced by clean and distinctive lines. There are nods within her work to everything from art deco and art nouveau to pop art and vintage fine jewelry. Whether the wearer is in a gray v-neck tee or an evening gown, a Meg C piece looks right at home.
Part of the reason her work has such range is due to Meg’s love of fine materials. Recycled platinum, silver, gold, and one-of-a-kind ethically sourced stones are her palette, and, for her, they are not just de rigueur; they are the commonplace materials of a sustainable jeweler at work. When you wear a piece of Meg C jewelry, it isn’t just a thing of beauty—it’s entire existence, from who mined it to how the environment fared in its extraction is, too.
Today, Meg C Jewelry Gallery offers five distinct collections of jewelry in addition to Meg’s own. She has a workshop and bench at the back of the gallery where, each day, you can still find her perched: hands dirty, eyes focused, tools engaged. In addition to working on new designs, making repairs and crafting custom orders, she also mops the floors, stays ahead of email and bills and engages with whomever comes into the shop. It’s a lot to care for, but the heady joy of a new design, the rush of solving a problem in wax and wire, the reliable delight of spying a stranger in one of her pieces continue to captivate her attention and efforts.