199B Highland Ave., (617) 776-2814
You can tell a lot about Emily Surette from her business card. Looking at its photo of her at about four years old, decked out in dozens of bracelets and necklaces, it’s hard to imagine her becoming anything other than a jewelry maker.
“I started making jewelry by just doing beaded things, and I always really liked making things with my hands,” she says. “From the very get-go, I was always making things.”
She studied jewelry making at the North Bennet Street School, a trade school in the North End. There, she honed her skills and “learned old-world techniques,” developing an identity of herself as a skilled tradesperson rather than an “artist.” Digging into why she resists the term, she emphasises how she views what she creates as practical and usable.
“I’ve always been this mix of dirty tomboy and super girly, so it’s really great that I get to be dirty all day, making stuff, getting grimy, but then I make really pretty things,” she says. “It’s the perfect job for me.”
Surette’s tagline for her eight-year-old brand is “The new heirloom.”
“It’s everyday, wearable jewelry, but unique,” she says of her style—then backtracks: “I hate all of those words. I say I ‘create the new heirloom.’ I create pieces that are quality and timeless, but there’s something different that you want to hold onto because you could never get it again. I want people to wear my stuff, I don’t want it to be that stuff that they just spent so much money on that sits in a box because they’re worried about wearing it, or because they never know when the right occasion to wear it is.”
Surette makes many custom pieces, especially engagement and wedding rings, at e. scott originals. About 90 percent of the diamonds she uses are antiques, she says, and she uses recycled metals, which she hopes makes people feel good about the items they’re buying.