Baleen's minimalistic jewelry is simple and affordable

Spouting Buys


Published:

It's the height of humpback season and you still haven't seen any whales. While everyone else at Makapuu is shouting and pointing at spout after spout, everything that far away just looks like a wave to you. More like fail watching. What a flop.

It's too bad you're not on Maui, where they have an entire festival dedicated to whales. You can tell how much Mauians love the giant sea creatures—Leah Lawrence and Billy Bartels even named their jewelry line after them.

Baleen takes the simplicity and the beauty of the couple's time on Maui (they spend most of the year in Seattle but come to Hawaii about every four months) and puts them into elegant earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces. And, just like their designs, their prices are minimal, which means you can stock up on those rose-gold-plated studs, Herkimer-diamond earrings and raindrop bangles without breaking the bank.

Lawrence and Bartels both have their own separate companies (hers, a line of women's swimwear, Drifting Arrows; his, men's jewelry and leather goods, Vim Beget), but are each other's sounding boards, not only for their individual work, but for their collaborative pieces in Baleen. The clean, modern, hand-crafted aesthetics they both love are reflected in all of their lines, and in their home.

Think it'd be hell to work with your significant other? Not for them. Lawrence and Bartels bounce ideas off each other and team up through the entire process, from designing to creating, in a way that feels organic.

Now if only whale watching were that easy.

Baleen jewelry is available at Roberta Oaks, 19 N. Pauahi St., and online at shopbaleen.com. Shipping is free for all U.S. orders.

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