Catherine Dining, Owner, CD Designs
JHJ’s Catherine Dining got her start in the jewelry business at the tender age of 4, when she attended a Parks, Beaches and Recreation craft class at the Pacifica Public Library. Her first attempt at jewelry-making, which took place during that craft class, was a paper-mache and glass bead necklace, which she still has. Catherine’s love for jewelry grew during her school years, and she says every year for Halloween, she would dress up as a gypsy, because that meant she could wear ALL of her mother’s costume jewelry.
In high school, Catherine attended a private school in SF that was a merger between a college preparatory school and an industrial arts school, which meant she had to take a shop class every semester. After two years of drafting, electric shop, wood shop, and metal shop, she was able to take elective shop classes, and jewelry shop was at the top of her list. She was 15 years old then, and she hasn’t stopped making jewelry since!
Catherine worked at the bench for other jewelers around the SF bay area for 13 years, and then started her own wholesale business. When the wholesale side of the business lost its luster for her, she bought a by appointment only retail custom design shop whose owner wanted to retire after 40 years. Three years ago, she moved the business out of its fourth floor office building location to a street front location in an affluent area, and says she finally feels like she is doing what she was always meant to do. She now has her own little shop where she designs and makes everything for her private clients. Somewhere along the line, Catherine said she seems to have inadvertently developed a specialty for repurposing old jewelry… disassembling pieces which would never be worn and creating something new out of the materials. She loves projects like that, because she says It makes people so happy.
What Catherine likes most about JHJ is the opportunity to connect with such a wide range of people who are involved in the same industry, with all sorts of different specialties, backgrounds, attitudes, and goals. Because her business is on the smaller scale, she is more interested in design than business. Being a member of JHJ has given her an opportunity to ask a lot of questions of JHJ members who have more knowledge or a different perspective on things than she does. She says she has also bought tools and gemstones from other members, and loves the pictures of really grossly filthy watches and rings, and the “you won’t believe what happened in my store today!” stories. She also loves the opportunities to commiserate over the endlessly dumfounding lunacy of dealing with the public.
Connect with Catherine if you have questions on bespoke jewelry, goldsmithing, jewelry design or custom creations. She taught diamond setting and goldsmithing at the Revere Academy for quite a few years, and she knows her stuff!