When I think about keepsake jewelry I think about a defining piece more than a classic style. I love my Grandmother's pinky ring not because it’s the most beautiful ring, but because she wore it everyday, so my memory of Marge is connected to that ring.
Ashley Merrill is the founder and CEO of Lunya - reinventing sleepwear, with quality, comfortable, and innovative pieces that change the way you sleep (first-hand experience here: washable silk changes things!). In addition to running Lunya, Ashley works as an angel investor for start-up companies and is passionate about increasing opportunities for women and alleviating poverty through health, education, and political reform. She works with her head and her heart in everything she does, including Lunya and as a board member of Girls Inc. A rare Southern California native, she lives in Santa Monica with her two young children and her husband. We visited Ashley at the gorgeous Lunya HQ, a serene living space/showroom/office space. It was the perfect backdrop to chat with her about jewelry. You may relate to her handful of carefully collected, very special pieces and super simple everyday basics that she doesn't have to think about.
WHAT DOES KEEPSAKE MEAN TO YOU?
When I think about keepsake jewelry I think about a defining piece more than a classic style. For example, I love my Grandmother's pinky ring not because it’s the most beautiful ring, but because she wore it every day, so my memory of Marge is connected to that ring. I have a few pieces like that I look forward to passing on to my kids someday.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF JEWELRY?
My mom’s mom Audrey, was a very stylish woman. She was a model in her early years and she was also a talented seamstress who could make anything out of Vogue. She would have lots of fun costume jewelry, with an expansive collection of clip-on earrings, and I used to love playing with her jewelry and running my hands through the earrings.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF JEWELRY AND WHY?
My favorite piece of jewelry is probably this diamond necklace from the ’70s. I love to get jewelry while traveling, it's a fun way to remember the trip, and this piece my husband bought me in Paris. It’s something I rarely have the opportunity to wear and so any time I do it’s guaranteed to feel special.
WHAT ARE YOUR EVERYDAY PIECES?
I’m a low maintenance person in my day-to-day. I have a lot of ear piercings that I fill with round and rectangular studs and on my pinky and wedding finger, I wear $40 micro bands.
WHAT IS YOUR OLDEST PIECE OF JEWELRY?
My oldest piece of jewelry is from my great grandmother Marge. It’s a purple jade pinky ring with two tiny side stones on a gold band. I was lucky enough to have had a relationship with my great-grandma before her passing so it reminds me of the root beer floats, scavenger hunts, and mahjong chips I played around her house. What’s amazing is my grandmother was such a petite woman (barely 5ft), and I’m 5,7” with big hands and yet the pinky ring fits me perfectly.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST RECENT PIECE OF JEWELRY?
Gold geometric earrings. Generally, jewelry is not something I like people to pick for me because it’s so personal, but the earrings are something that my husband knew I wanted and he got for me.
HOW MANY JEWELRY BOXES DO YOU HAVE?
None, I have a drawer with dividers.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE STARLING PIECE?
I love the plain baby hoop earrings! They are simple so I could wear them everyday or dress them up
TELL US YOUR FIRST EAR PIERCING STORY!
I got them pierced at Claire’s with the piercing guns and was terrified. I had to have been around ten. Since then I’ve gotten them pierced many more times with a needle at a piercing shop and with this cool little squeeze decided to at my kids’ pediatrician. Both subsequent times were way less dramatic than the first.
Thank you, Ashley!!