The right jewelry has a resonance. A fine pendant or ring that fits well with who you are and brings you joy each time you touch it or look at it is one of life’s delights. Whether a custom piece, a reworked heirloom, or the jeweler’s vision, handcrafted jewelry is a little chunk of personal magic.
You’ll find a treasure trove of such pieces at Facets of Earth in Kingston, where the specialty is fine custom work and handcrafted jewelry from around the world. “I have very high standards and I get to decide what sets the bar,” says owner Morgan Mikula. “It carries through with the designers in our cases, the level of work we put out, and the people that we work with on the back end. There’s a sense of creative freedom at this level, and with the information and technology available to the independent jeweler, the world is my oyster.”
Morgan grew up in York, Pennsylvania and studied jewelry and metalsmithing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, going on to study design and fabrication.“I went to school to be a secondary art teacher. I spent one summer studying jewelry design and fabrication in Florence, Italy and knew it was the right path for me,” she says.
“I was hungry to know and learn techniques. I’ve always admired jewelry and the significance behind each crafted piece. It sparked my passion and I changed my major to receive a BFA in Jewelry and Metals and also Painting. After graduating, I worked my way through the fine jewelry industry while teaching classes at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.”
We can thank her husband Brian for her discovery of the Hudson Valley. The couple met in Pittsburgh, but Brian had lived in New York and supported a move back. “He always told me, ‘You’ll love the Hudson Valley,’” she says. “We came to visit and I instantly fell in love. It finally felt like I was home.”
The couple moved in 2015, and Morgan started working from home, designing and marketing her own work online under the Facets of Earth brand.
“I eventually got to the point that I couldn’t work at my day job for another jeweler and decided to focus on my designs and direction,” she recalls. “After being regularly asked where my store was located and bringing custom consultations into my home studio, I realized it was time to move into a retail space. I’ve admired jewelry designers from around the globe, and knew that I also wanted to include them in my collection of designers.”
The Kingston waterfront is ideally suited to an enterprise that’s inherently a little bit enchanted. “The waterfront has a special and quaint energy,” Morgan says. “It’s a hidden gem with so much history. My husband and I feel deeply connected to the water, and we knew that when it was time to open a retail store the waterfront was the right place. After nearly a year of searching, we found the perfect place. It’s on the opposite side of the street from where all the shops are, so it took us by surprise. When we walked in to view the space, it took our breath away. There was so much potential: 25-foot ceilings, and a spiral staircase to a lofted office! It needed a lot of cosmetic work, but it took my dream of Facets of Earth to the next level. It came to be something better than we even imagined. “
The shop opened its doors on the Fourth of July in 2018, after the renovation and a lot of conscious forethought. Morgan had some definite ideas about how the store should look, feel, and operate, starting with building trust.
“Since I had experience working for other jewelers before launching, I had a lot to think about,” she says. “I really focused on the mission of our alternative and modern jewelry store. I focused on what sets us apart—our ethics—while offering all of the same qualities as a full-service jewelry store.
“We’re a low-pressure sales environment. Who wants to walk into a jewelry store and feel pressured or like they couldn’t afford anything? We want everyone to come back and just check out our new work often. We don’t want them to feel buyer’s remorse or pressured. It’s genuine conversation, while hopefully educating about all that goes into the jewelry art form. The space is truly uplifting, so we just want people to come in and enjoy watching us work on jewelry in our open studio!”
The work you will find here is created using consciously selected diamonds and gemstones and recycled precious metals. “In our design, we use colored gemstones as opposed to diamonds,” Morgan says. “We’re happy to source any kind of diamond, and we do have a decent amount available. But there’s a world of beautiful gemstones out there that don’t get the same attention in the traditional jewelry industry. Using gemstones also makes the design work more accessible, whether it’s an engagement ring or just an everyday favorite.”
Facets of Earth offers a warm welcome to jewelry lovers, window shoppers, art lovers, and rock-hounds alike. “Our goal was to rethink the approach to a jewelry store,” Morgan says. “It’s open and airy, with lots of light and lighter colors. Our display cases are designed to give you an experience closer to visiting a museum. It’s a very comfortable environment, and the jeweler is the one selling the jewelry in our cases. Myself, Brian, or our other bench jeweler can explain in detail any information about custom work or answer questions about the designs in our cases. Our walls feature paintings and wall sculptures from artists; we have art openings in our space every two or three months. There’s a gift section where we carry ceramics, jewelry boxes, fragrances, and more from local makers.”
The work you will find here is created using consciously selected diamonds and gemstones and recycled precious metals.
To Morgan, making a piece of jewelry for your wedding is a sacrament. “I love working on custom designs with clients for engagement or wedding bands,” she says. “I have so many great memories of being a part of people’s big life moments. It’s heartwarming to hear amazing, creative ways that people propose! But I really enjoy doing jewelry repair, also; I have a strong foundation in jewelry repair and restoration, and I love to bring life back to broken jewelry and family heirlooms.”
Facets of Earth stays on the cutting edge in more ways than one. “We don’t like to say ‘no’ to people,” says Morgan, “so it’s led to expanding our horizons. We recently expanded our services with a laser welder, where we can go in and build or fix pretty much anything with a beam of light. I’ve studied and worked at so many levels, from large corporate jewelers to small independent shops. And now, because of technology, my competitors are also my colleagues. I cheer this next generation of independent, free-thinking designers and all of their endeavors.”
All of the study and tech and collaboration is in the service of the overarching goal: delighting you with something that will last a lifetime and beyond. “Our mission is to create beautiful, elegant jewelry that will bring joy for generations to come,” Morgan says. “The feeling of empowerment and loving the skin you're in is crucial to positive change and positive effect. We strive to capture that essence in each handcrafted piece of jewelry.”
Going forward, you can expect to find more varied and sparkling pieces on display (Morgan constantly studies the latest techniques, as well as the work of masters old and new), new designers as they are magnetized into the circle, and more art openings. And anytime you visit, you can count on enjoying the space and the staff. “We play good music and we make sure to truly have fun,” Morgan says. “When we have fun, our customers have fun! Nobody wants a grump working on their jewelry.”
facets of earth
22 Broadway, Kingston