Meghan Proctor has been in the jewelry industry for nearly 28 years, yet she’s only 35. A second-generation jeweler, she grew up in the family store working in sales and perfecting her skills on the bench. “I try to draw inspiration from literally anything I come across, like toys for example. I’ve made several pieces involving video games, toys, and different organic materials. I strive to design with no limitations, and so far, I love it!” Meghan says. Such creativity has led to her current position, a Bench Jeweler and Custom Designer at Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry in Peachtree City, Georgia.
“I started learning the tricks of the trade from my father. I watched and absorbed all I could as he cut waxes, cast and finished custom pieces.” Meghan’s father is Navajo and learned his craft on the reservation. So growing up around jewelry provided the opportunity to begin her career creating jewelry the Navajo way. After opening his store, she was there nearly every day after school. “Once I learned customization, I moved to the bench, to learn basic repairs. I worked my way through stone setting, fabrication, completing a custom job from start to finish and finally CAD design.”
Meghan admits to the difficulty of narrowing down her specialties. “Working for my father, I had to stretch my abilities to work in many areas. This allowed me to master all aspects of the job,” she remembers. “If I must narrow it down, my forté involves thinking outside the box, whether it’s a different way to repair something or a creative approach to custom design.” However, her favorite part of the job is a no-brainer. Admiring a finished piece of jewelry remains most enjoyable. Some repairs can be just as fulfilling. They give her the opportunity to use her hands and bring it all together.
Custom design remains central to Meghan becoming a monumental part of the industry. “It’s amazing, to begin with an idea, develop it, and create something precious that no one else has. With so many different personalities in the world, I find it exciting and rewarding to individualize a piece of jewelry. Each design captures an aspect of its owner,” she reflects.
Her most treasured memories come from sitting with her father, watching and learning from him. He worked several jobs to support the family, so this opened the opportunity to spend precious time bonding over jewelry making. Another high point of her career was seeing one of her pieces on the red carpet. “The actor Ray Stevenson visited the store I worked for at the time and everywhere he films, he has something made for his wife. I adored working with him and seeing the result on the red carpet was thrilling,” she gushes.
Outside of work, her interests and hobbies include musical theater, where she helps build sets, working hands-on to express her ingenuity. She also enjoys comic book collecting, music and amassing vinyl records. “I’m highly ambitious and driven and hope to make a positive impact in the industry. I’m extremely excited to be a part of this Battle of the Benches competition. I have no awards or recognitions YET, but I plan to change that very soon!”
Just a glimpse of Meghan Proctor’s custom work
The Battle of the Benches® competition ramps up in only a few days. Catch up on all of the contestants here. Who do you think will take home the gold?