Meet our favorite clean beauty queen, Katey Denno. The renowned celebrity make-up artist is a non-toxic beauty and eco-friendly product expert. Her work has been featured in countless beauty and fashion editorials, and she shares her expertise on YouTube, beauty brand consulting, and by private green beauty consulting. Make sure to follow her personal IG @kateydenno for daily tips. Katey welcomed us into her home, showed us around her jewelry collection and made us seriously laugh with stories of her amazing grandparents.
What does “keepsake” mean to you?
A special piece, from a special someone, to commemorate a special momentous occasion, or just because. Something to be cherished and passed down.
What is your favorite piece in your jewelry box? Or top three if you really can’t pick just one! Tell us about when you got it?
1. An eternity band my grandfather gave my grandma in my presence (I was in elementary school), just because. She gave it to me a few years before she passed away. I remember how amazing it looked on her long, tan finger, always with her nails done perfectly. It gives me strength to look down at it.
2. When I was in the fourth grade my mom gave me a gold ring with a rose quartz stone. She said it was a family heirloom, given to her by her grandfather. I told her I hated gold and wouldn’t wear it. She told me she’d hold it for me until I would grow to like it. It’s stunning. What was I thinking?
3. A client was doing a late night talk show appearance and after we’d finished hair and makeup, she went to the safe to pull out the jewelry she’d be wearing. She put on a huge gold disc around her neck and I was mesmerized. I took a closer look and saw how amazingly detailed the designs on both sides were; one side the zodiac chart, the other a bunch of good luck images. She told me her friend was a jewelry designer and had made it. By the end of the night I’d bought it off her neck, and have since had at least 5 people order one online while sitting in my makeup chair, staring at mine.
Any jewelry superstitions or rituals?
My mom buries any jewelry with stones in salt for a few days, so I do it too.
Editor's note: Burying jewelry in salt is a tradition used by many to cleanse the stones of all unwanted energies that they may be carrying. Other ways of cleansing stones include the running water method, sunlight method, smudging, and more.
What are your everyday pieces of jewelry?
The ring situation I described above. A duo stackable set from Kelly Wearstler a friend gave me that I LOVE. Three thin gold chains – one from my grandparents, given to me in grade school, one, a gift from a client, and the third I just bought for myself recently. I like to switch up earrings between gold hoops of varying sizes and flat studs. I used to have lots of holes in my ears but I wear only one in each now.
Any favorite antique pieces?
My grandma gave me some really special, over the top pieces that I almost never wear because, but yes, one in particular stands out. It has many, many diamonds.
What jewelry have you bought recently?
One of my clients gave me a gift certificate to ABC in NYC and I took it right to the jewelry department. My boyfriend came with me and I picked out a few special pieces. He said, "I feel like I bought those for you because I was there with you to pick them out."
How many jewelry boxes do you own?
One really nice, simple mid-century one that my ex-in-laws gave me over a decade ago, and then for the rest of my jewelry I just put it in cute little dishes or shells on my dresser.
Favorite Starling design?
Tell us the story of getting your ears pierced.
I’m going to have to ask my mom about this one. I don’t remember!!!
First jewelry memory?
I begged my mom to let me have a gold pin in the shape of a tiny mouse. It had a little piece of chain as a tail and rubies for eyes. One of the eyes fell out and my mom put a tiny drop of red nail polish where it was and told me not to look at it too closely.
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photos by Billye Donya