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This Bay Area Designer Got Her Start With Friendship Bracelets

Image via <a href="http://www.elle.com/news/fashion-accessories/melissa-joy-manning-eco-jewelry">Elle.com</a>
Image via Elle.com

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Berkeley-based jewelry designer Melissa Joy Manning is so hot right now, between opening her new store in New York and landing her work on the cover of Lucky's May issue with Olivia Wilde. But before she was a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and an all-around big deal, Manning was just a Bay Area girl making friendship bracelets.

The sustainable jewelry designer tells Elle.com that she started making pieces as a kid. "The first necklace I made was when I was 4, for my mom… For me, art was play. I had a side business in high school where I would make friendship bracelets." That interest spurred Manning to study traditional silversmithing in Mexico and eventually earn her degree in jewelry design and sculpture from San Francisco State University.

Melissa's mother still has the ceramic bead necklace, but we wonder if any of the high school era bracelets are still around. We imagine Manning's early work as a chic blend of the requisite colored string along with the unique stones that have become her calling card. If you happen to have one, ping us (with pics!) at sf@racked.com.
· Jewelry as Good For the Earth as It Is For Your Style [Elle.com]
· Melissa Joy Manning [Official Site]
· Inside Jewelry Designer Melissa Joy Manning's Lovely Soho Shop [Racked NY]