Dawn Grady loves making jewelry that's just as unique as those who wear it. It's been a passion of hers for over a decade. Today, she is the owner of Junebug Jewelry Designs, with a shop in OTR and online. She describes her designs as Bohemian but sophisticated, modern but earthy, and all about embracing and empowering the unique person you are meant to be.
"I make bold statement jewelry for women who love to stand out," says Grady. "Each piece is thoughtfully handcrafted especially for fashionably fearless women. Each intricate design is a timeless work of wearable art made with natural materials and lots of love."
Grady says that at Junebug, she likes to keep things original, creating only one-of-a-kind and limited-edition pieces. "This ensures that customers never see their unique accessories on anyone else," she adds.
Junebug Jewelry Designs are mostly made of copper and Argentium silver. Grady says that she loves working with copper because of the unique way that it antiques, while Argentium silver is highly tarnish-resistant and stays brilliant without much effort. "It's also very hypo-allergenic," she adds.
New this year is her "Beauty Marks" collection. "It represents respecting your life's journey. I'm really proud of it. All the little scratches and dents, represent the moments in life where life sort of kicks your butt," Grady explains. "But those are the moments you experience the most growth and you're sculpted into the person you're supposed to be."
Other designs include the Fiyah Collection of bracelets, statement necklaces, and earrings that have been finished with a fire or mustard patina. "And, yes, I mean mustard like the kind you would put on a hot dog," Grady laughs. "The acid in the mustard reacts on the metal and delivers a beautiful finish."
Grady says that one of her favorite parts about Junebug is challenge herself to create unique finishes on her jewelry. Whether it’s using a torch to create a fiery look or mustard to deliver shades of bronze and turquoise.
Grady also enjoys using natural stones in her pieces, to incorporate their beauty and energies into the designs. “I created the Innerjee Collection of beaded gemstone designs that combine the stones to deliver specific energies,” says Grady.
The first three designs are titled “Prosperity,” “No More Drama,” and “Time for Change.” “The stones in Prosperity help attract good fortune, while those in No More Drama help absorb and block negative energy,” she says. “The stones in Time for Change help you identify the right path in life and embrace change as it comes your way.”
The Argentium designs allow the brilliance of the metal to take center stage. “It is such a gorgeous metal,” says Grady. “I work primarily with Argentium wire and use it to hand-forge chains, create unique earring designs (particularly hoops) and statement necklaces, and design cocktail rings.”
The story behind Junebug starts with a bead stringing class at the University of Cincinnati. It’s where Grady made her first necklace and earring set. From then on, making jewelry became an obsession for Grady.
“I started gathering tools and supplies, and absorbed ever jewelry-making tutorial I could,” she recalls. “I took classes from renowned metalsmiths and jewelry artisans to master the skills needed to produce my vision of wearable art.”
Grady says the name for her business comes from her father, as he gave her the nickname “Junebug” when she was younger.
“I loved to be creative as a young person, and that’s when I heard the name the most,” she says. “So, when I created my business, I couldn’t think of a better name.”
She says the name “Junebug” represents a time in her life when she feels she was very creative, and is a level of creativity she taps into when designing her jewelry.
Junebug officially launched in 2016, when Grady began primarily selling her jewelry online, at craft shows, and through her own pop-up shops. Today, she has a storefront located at 1327 Vine St as well as a booming online business.
“There’s nothing like having that face-to-face time with my customers to explain the vision behind each piece,” she says. “A picture online can only do so much. It really makes a difference to be able to offer customers a chance to touch the pieces and try them on. They can see the extra care that has been taken to not only make a beautiful piece, but also one that is comfortable to wear.”