Aaron Ruff

Self-employment and creativity inspired this designer to push forward with his high-end jewelry.

I made the transition from full-time woodworker to jeweler. There were a few things that prompted me to make the change: the workshop was going to be demolished and we would have had to move the entire operation. I also had a few bad accidents with the table saw and decided a different career path might be necessary to keep all my fingers.

I started to take myself seriously as a jeweler when I would see my jewelry on a stranger in the street. I've always followed the path of self-reliance and employment, and had a keen interest in creating a product that would be heirloom quality.

All my designs are historically based and inspired. I generally pick a time period or event and immerse my self in research until I have enough to design the collection. I had an obsession with archaeology since I was a kid. And I am a collector of many interesting and beautiful things. I keep one foot in the past and one foot in the future.

If you're not going to go the smart route of educating yourself, then go the blissfully ignorant route of just doing it. I can't imagine not being my own boss and being able to realize my passions and design on a daily basis. This alone is enough keep forward momentum!