” Extraordinary metal and gemstone jewelry that that contains “little secrets between myself and the wearer.”

Morning has broken and Hali Mechur is basking in all that Martha’s Vineyard has to offer: fresh air, wide-open spaces, oceans that stretch for miles, and sun that rises and sets over deep azure  waters every day and every night. Those are the things that brought this Oak Bluffs native, who studied fashion merchandising at New York’s Marist College and London College of Fashion—back to MV. Still, Hali did not plan on staying. The job she landed managing a jewelry store was supposed to be an interim stint. But Hali, who has always had an affinity for gemstones, learned to love the industry. Hali loved it so much that she later went on to study the jewelry-making craft. She took a huge leap and invested in the necessary tools, turned her West Tisbury basement into a workshop, and launched H. Falk Designs… “jewelry and metal art made on MV by the island that raised me.” Hali broke away from the quiet of her island workshop to talk to Dressed MV.

Aquamarine and Apatite earrings set in sterling silver with brass accents

DMV: What is a typical day like for you?
Hali: I make every attempt to get outside for a run, or at least a walk, in the morning. When I’m not able to, I notice a huge drop in my creativity and productivity in the studio. Once down in the studio, each day can be very different. During the winter months, I focus on and produce most of the pieces to be shown at summer artisan markets, pop-ups, and local boutiques, because let’s be honest, it’s really hard to self-motivate and go down into an unglamorous basement studio when it’s 75 and sunny. Each week I’ll pick a type of piece I want to craft, such as a pendant, cuff, ring, etc., making multiples of the same thing is more efficient and helps my mind to focus. If I don’t set a schedule, I’m prone to see the next shiny object and want to start working on that. I’ll lay out the stones I want to work with that day (or week) and begin making each bezel. From there the bezels are soldered, pickled, sanded down to the correct height of the stone, checked and re-checked for correct fit around the stone, and soldered onto the backplate. Next I’ll saw away the material around the backplate to the desired size and sand it so there aren’t any rough edges, and that’s the basic start of each piece. The rest depends on the type of jewelry. I’ll make ring shanks, jump rings for pendants or dangle earrings, posts for studs, and strips for cuff bracelets. Except for the  chains I use for my pendants, I hand fabricate every element that goes into my designs. Once the entire piece has been assembled, I clean up any stray solder, sand, polish the piece, and set the stone, which is one of the scariest parts of the process. It feels so good when I have successfully finished and depending on how many pieces are in a batch, it takes me the better part of a week to complete those steps.

DMV: Please describe your design making process.
Hali: Occasionally I’ll create a sketch of what I’d like the piece to look like, but most of the time, however, it happens completely organically. I prefer the stone to shine, and it depends on the size, shape, and color of the gemstone I’m working with. Once I choose my stone, I decide which color metal will look best as the bezel. Since most of my designs combine two tones of metal, the rest of the piece tends to fall into place.

Cutout back plates allow the Apatite stone to be seen from the backside

DMV: Is jewelry making an art or a craft?
Hali: Both. Art and craft are so intertwined, that it is inaccurate to say it is strictly one or the other. I’ve always looked at jewelry as wearable art. So much of the artisan goes into each piece–design, composition, problem- solving. It is important to have a balance between the creative side of the maker and the technical skills of the actual craft of metalsmithing.

DMV: How do you decide what you want to create?
Hali: I’ll start with the stone and decide how it would look best on the wearer. For example, I came across a piece of Turquoise that lent itself well to a pendant design. When turned a certain way, the stone looked like a landscape painting with green hills below and a light, yellow-blue, stormy sky. The back of the stone was just as interesting as the front, so I punched three small circles into the backplate for a peek-a-boo effect. Even if no one else can see the holes, it’s like a little secret between myself and the wearer.

Sand textured cuffs with Labradorite leaf

DMV: Where do you source your material from?
Hali: My metal comes from Rio Grande, a company based in Albuquerque. I source my gemstones from multiple family-owned U.S. based businesses. For the most part, I hand select each stone that I work with. It is time-consuming, but certainly a labor of love.

DMV: What materials work well together and which ones do not?
Hali: It can be a bit tricky when you start mixing metals, which are what my designs mainly consist of. Since each metal has a different melting point, I must be aware of where my flame is hovering. For example, oftentimes I’ll make a brass bezel to go around the stone and want to solder it onto a sterling silver backplate. Silver has a lower melting point than brass, so I need to be careful not to heat the silver so much that it causes the brass bezel to “sink” into the silver.

DMV: Where do you go for inspiration?
Hali: Growing up on the island, I was surrounded by beaches, forests, and wildlife and I still look to nature for inspiration. I often stop when I’m out running in the forest or taking in a walk on the beach. I’ll notice all the interesting textures in the natural world: moss on tree branches, the delicate leaves of ferns so perfectly splayed out in size order, seaweed flowing with the current even the rough surface of rocks can be beautiful in their own way. Many of my pieces are textured using sand (the sparkly texture you see in my work) and seaweed, which is dried in my studio and pressed into the metal. This creates unique relief patterns, making each piece slightly different. I enjoy experimenting with different plants and seeing what patterns they create on metal. Sometimes it’s nothing special and sometimes it’s magic!

Lapis Lazuli, Persian Turquoise, Aquamarine, Lavender Chalcedony, Rainbow Moonstone

DMV: When is enough enough—when do you know a piece is done?
Hali: There are always little tweaks that can be done. But when I can stamp my maker’s mark on the piece and proudly say, “I made that”…that’s when I’m ready to let it go to its new home.

DMV: What kind of emotional response do you hope your jewelry evokes?
Hali: I hope for an authentic connection to my work–whether it’s a memory of the island, a relationship with nature, or simply admiring the beauty of the stones used in my pieces. I want my work to speak to the wearer and make them feel genuinely happy when they are wearing or seeing my jewelry.

DMV: Who’s your mentor and what’s the best advice they’ve ever given you?
Hali: My friend Kate (who is not in the jewelry industry but is a maker herself) told me to take my time learning the craft and allow myself to find my voice. When I was taking classes and knew I wanted to pursue metalsmithing full-time, I had a hard time letting go and just being creative with my work. I was always comparing myself to my classmates; asking if my work good enough, thinking if I should make my work look more like theirs, and questioning if anyone would like my pieces. Kate said how boring would it be if everyone’s work looked the same. We’re all different and our creative voices should reflect that. That resonated with me.

H.Falk Designs

Hali Mechur, the creator and designer of h.falk designs all set up at the Featherstone Gallery this past August. *all photos courtesy of h.falk designs

DMV: When you are not making jewelry, what are you doing?
Hali: All of the other things that come along with running a small business like photographing my work, updating the website, dropping off orders to boutiques, showing at artisan markets, and my least favorite but probably most important activity, balancing the books. When taking a break from all of those things, you can usually find me running in the forest, skiing in winter, traveling, and trying new foods.

DMV: Future plans?
Hali: I’d like to dive a little deeper into the world of casting. There are limits to what I can hand fabricate in metal and learning new techniques in casting will open up design possibilities to include fine jewelry, other ways to set stones, as well as taking items found in nature, casting them into metal, and incorporating those into my designs. While I love that each of my pieces is slightly different, casting would allow me to create multiples of the same item more efficiently.

DMV: Where can people find your work?
Hali: My pieces can be found at island boutiques including Slip77, Driftwood Jewelry, Citrine, and Chappy Happy. I also participate in artisan events both on and off the island. A full list can be found on my website:, or on my Instagram @h.falk.designs.