California-born pastry chef turned jewelry designer Leslie Paige talks about her debut line
With a background in the culinary arts, California-born jewelry designer Leslie Paige McElroy launched her collection of structural, eye-catching pieces with the hopes of creating objects that would endure. “During my years-long career as a pastry chef, I would spend days creating something like a wedding cake, and it would be destroyed and eaten in a matter of minutes,” Paige says. “As much as I loved that people enjoyed my creations, it was a little sad that they did not last.”
It wasn’t until that subtle sense of melancholy was met with an unfulfilled quest to find a ring—which she whipped up in her imagination—that Paige decided to set her work in stone. She invented the Perched Setting, a design that showcases a band’s center stone in its entirety. “Once I started wearing it, people would stop me to ask me about it,” and from there, a full collection was developed, including the Puzzle ring, Stacked ring, Bezel hoops and Droplet Lariat necklace, with prices from the low thousands.
Now, clients are able to make purchases directly from Paige’s online store or work with her to create something unique. And when it comes to creating the heirloom-worthy line, the baker’s spirit has proven itself indelibly. “As a chef, you know that if you start with the best ingredients, you will create the best possible finished product,” she says. “I use that same philosophy with my jewelry. I only use solid 14-karat gold—anything softer would not hold my Perched Setting—and natural gemstones and diamonds.”
Paige, who currently resides and designs all of the pieces in her new home of Portland, Oregon, calls her career-changing line an advancement, noting, “I was raised by a remarkable woman that always told me there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. Wanting to make a change [from the culinary industry] after getting such amazing feedback on my first couple of pieces—I didn’t really see it as a leap as much as I did an evolution.”
Written by ERICKA FRANKLIN.