Tokens of Affection

It's not hard to find personalized jewelry these days, but few parallel the craftsmanship of Heather Moore.

Don't use the word "trend" around jewelry designer Heather Moore.

"There's a lot of 'What's new? What's happening?' [in jewelry design]," says Moore, founder of Heather B. Moore Inc. "This is not trend jewelry. These are timeless pieces that tell your story."

With foundations of gold and sterling silver accented with diamonds and hand-stamped fonts and symbols, each piece goes beyond customization. Instead, Moore uses jewelry to create a reflection of the wearer's personality.

"We start with the question, 'What is it that you're documenting?' " she says, followed by the kind of probing questions that can turn treasured memories into heirloom art.

Sure, there are the expected pendants of children's names and couples' anniversary dates. But the variety is limited only by your imagination: the latitude and longitude of your first marathon, monogrammed cuff links and belt buckles, a gold globe with a diamond marking your hometown, religious symbols from Buddhas to crosses. There are even pendants in Braille.

Then comes the design decisions: size, materials, fonts, inset jewels and charm combinations. On average, 15 of Moore's employees touch an individual piece as it moves through a dozen steps from concept to completion, and each piece is out the door within 10 days.

"We have the foundation for design," says Moore, "but we encourage [customers] to be creative."

With 55 employees in her Midtown facility, Moore is just as much CEO as artist. She's closely involved in the design process, but it's not often you'll find her hand-polishing a gold pendant these days.

Moore's style blends a variety of influences. Her comfort with tooling came from her father, Dan T. Moore, a local entrepreneur with a background in advanced manufacturing. Her career began in glassblowing with a gradual move into metalwork; the first jewelry line she launched in 1996 combined the two. She unveiled her current line in 2003, an early trailblazer in one-of-a-kind personalized jewelry that so many jewelry artists today try to replicate.

Today, her pieces are sold in more than 100 jewelry stores in the U.S. and abroad, including local retailers such as Hedges in Chagrin Falls, the Grey Colt in Hudson and Yeager Jewelers in Westlake. They've landed on the necks of celebrities such as Beyoncé, Paula Deen and Mary Louise Parker.

Moore's uber-personalization doesn't come cheap: A silver stamped oval starts at $200, but her pieces have sold for $50,000 or more.

In a time of disposable possessions, Moore believes her pieces are less bling, more birthright — "It's about passing on your story."

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