Written by Carolinne Griffin
Vintage chains, zippers, some feathers—objects like these made their way into the early designs of Molly Conant. In the late 2000s, Conant would piece together found treasures into one-of-a-kind jewelry that she sold in her Etsy shop. As demand for her work grew, so did her skills as a jeweler; she taught herself how to solder, to repeat styles, and to source better materials. “I was completely in love with this new world that I had discovered making jewelry,” she says.
Today, Rackk and Ruin, Conant’s Burlington business is small yet thriving with an active e-commerce site, ten wholesale accounts, and a brick-and-mortar retail space. At her 270 Pine Street studio, customers can peruse handmade necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings (starting at $75) alongside curated racks of vintage clothing.
Partnering with a local facility specializing in lost-wax casting enables Rackk and Ruin to reproduce some designs in a range of materials at a lower cost. This has helped the business expand into wholesale, an area Conant wants to grow. As of late, she has been designing more classic gold wedding bands for local clientele. “It’s such a special piece of jewelry to create for somebody. I like the intimacy of meeting with the couple.”
Conant continues to make one-of-a-kind pieces for clients, transforming their antique heirlooms into modern jewelry. And utilitarian objects still make their way into limited runs of Rackk and Ruin designs from time to time— take, for instance, the line of thick hoop earrings fashioned from vintage brass curtain rings. “Those were crazy popular and tons of work. I think it’s so fun to be able to incorporate repurposed styles,” says Conant, who has come far in the jewelry business while staying true to her creative roots.