HILTON HEAD NATIVE TURNS HER LOVE OF JEWELRY INTO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
As a child, Selina King loved playing “dress up” with her mother’s 1970s-era costume jewelry and the fine jewelry her father made for the family businesses. The chunky, hammered pieces; the oversized chandelier earrings; the cocktail rings; the stones and the crystals all made her feel beautiful.
Those pieces — and the people who owned them — inspired the Hilton Head Island native to create her own line of jewelry to help other women feel beautiful.
Half Native American and half Sephardic Jew, King’s style is true to her heritage. No doubt her inspiration comes from a combination of her childhood in the Lowcountry; her father, Teddy King, was a self-taught jeweler, and her mother, Sheila King, ran Hilton Head’s first crystal shop, Crystals ‘N’ Things in Coligny Plaza. Teddy died in 1997, and Sheila is now a licensed professional counselor on Hilton Head.
“I’ve always been around it,” King said of jewelry. “The passion was there, so I’ve always had the dream to make this collection.”
At the age of 38, King has turned her passion into a successful business, Selina King Jewelry. She and her husband, well-known tattoo artist Gavan Daly, split their time between New York City and Hilton Head. Daly, known to many as Knarly Gav, is a former member of the popular local bluegrass band Lowcountry Boil and still sits in with the band on occasion.
King, who graduated from Hilton Head Island High School in 1996, moved to New York City to study at Parsons School of Design at the age of 18, then started a career in the fashion industry.
But her heart was always in jewelry, so she decided to leave fashion and focus on her true love. She began making modern jewelry out of vintage pieces, selling her first pair of earrings to a friend, who then hosted a trunk show for her. It turned out people really liked her work.
King later decided she wanted to get into metalsmithing, and apprenticed with master metalsmiths in Georgia, South Carolina and California.
King and Daly share a studio in Brooklyn, where she designs and handcrafts jewelry, and he tattoos clients who come from far and wide. She also has a studio on Hilton Head.
King works with 14-karat gold, sterling silver and brass, as well as natural gemstones such as lapis, moonstone, clear quartz and turquoise.
She has worked with Italian Vogue, L’uomo Vogue, Elle Magazine, British Glamour, Dolce and Gabbana, Diane Von Furstenburg and Lacoste, as well as fashion stylists Giovanna Battaglia and Joanne Blades and fashion photographers Greg Kadel and Terry Richardson.
She has also styled celebrities, including Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, Bruce and Patti Springsteen, Rachel Weiss and Chloe Sevigny.
But the outgoing and energetic artist doesn’t let that success go to her head. She is loyal to the community that made her what she is today and has quite a following in the Lowcountry, where Selina King Jewelry can be found at Birdie James in Shelter Cove Towne Centre, at trunk shows, at the annual Mayfest in Bluffton and online at www.selinaking.com.
King loves the process of creating jewelry. What starts out as a piece of wire is transformed into something powerful — a tool that can bring confidence and joy to her customers.
“There’s a peace that comes with it,” King said about her work. “I love creating things that people can wear that make them feel beautiful.”