Palomino Jewelry


noun  pal·o·mi·no  \ˌpa-lə-ˈmē-(ˌ)nō
A horse that is pale cream to gold in color and has a flaxen or white mane and tail. 
Genetically, the palomino color is created by a single allele of a dilution gene called the cream gene working on a “red” (chestnut) base coat. Due to their distinct color, Palominos stand out in a show ring, and are much sought after as parade horses.
Inspired by this precious bloodline… bold leathers, semi-precious stones and articulate metals bond together to form, Palomino Jewelry. The Y Life was so intrigued by the lines unique twist on fashion, that we tracked down the artist behind Palomino, Kathryn Fuller, to learn more about what inspired her to create jewelry.
Kathryn started riding horses from the time she was just a little girl and rode for most of her formidable years, having thought it was her destiny, she knew from a young age that horses would forever hold a place in her heart and that is precisely where ‘Palomino’ came from.
“I was the little girl who asked for a Pony from the time she was five…
The name Palomino, I knew I wanted to do something around horses and I like the sound of the word, but my grandparents also kept a pony, they had a farm and they had a pony for us! So, when we would visit it was really amazing that they had her for us, her name was Cream Puff.”
So your life as a child connected to the bond you built with horses and came to inspire you, when you decided to create Palomino Jewelry?
“Well when you are working with horses, you are outside in all weather, you are kind of in the trenches so to speak. You know, you are cleaning up stalls, you are grooming them, I mean you really feel connected to a living thing that is outside of yourself and that is so important in any child’s life. That was something I didn’t realize I even did, until I moved into a city where you’re indoors more, I didn’t realize how much being outside meant to me.”
Funny that you mention that, I was about to ask how you use earth friendly products, like organic textures when you are creating your work. I think it has something to do, with the fact that you are so in tune with nature. Could you tell us about the earth friendly products you use, that is helping the environment?
“All of the leather that I use is reclaimed. I mostly get my leather from a supplier in Midtown, New York City and they have an area considered the scraps area, a lot of them are whole animal hides that have been damaged, so they can’t sell them to companies that are going to be using them for purses or shoes, because there are scratches on them or discoloration, so I get to jump in and use them for small purpose…
I want to mostly use American made hardware, which are all of the metal accoutrements that I use and I’m also working towards using semi precious stones that are ethically mined and then processed, it is a really hard thing to work toward and then keep your pieces affordable, I am trying to figure out how I can do both.”
Now that you mention the craftsmanship, what is your favorite tool to use when you make your jewelry? We see that you enjoy using feathers and leathers, beads and chains… What is your favorite material?
“The leather because of the connection to horses and because leather is such a dominant material. When you are horseback riding, there are a lot of the smells and textures that resonated with me, when I first started working with this. I also love that it is a dynamic material, so over time, its texture is going to change and that to me I find fascinating. Like, what is this piece going to look like ten years from now? Because with a pair of shoes they are going to get worn in and stretch out, but if it is a piece of jewelry, it is just going to show off its time in such a different way.”
I noticed the way you style small beads with the leather, into these small patterns, it almost reminds me of an homage to some Native American inspiration, especially with the Fringe Collection— tell us how that inspiration came about?
“My family spent a lot of time when I was growing up going to New Mexico, that was our family vacation destination and we would go there in the Summer… we would go hiking all the time, we would go visit the reservations and we would go water rafting and camping. Then in the Winters we would go there and go skiing and snowboarding…
When I started working with leather, this story of going to New Mexico started coming out, and I didn’t anticipate that happening… So I have been working towards showing respect for Native American culture, but trying not to appropriate, because I don’t want to do that… Figuring out a way to show respect, without you know taking from this other culture.”
Being inspired as a child is one of the most magical nuances of childhood; I could see how that influence had played a role just by browsing through Kathryn’s collection. I got a sense from the beadwork and how the turquoise beads all hang down at perfect little crescent moons, that there was something deeper to this.

Photography – Jen Painter

I also wondered how living in Brooklyn had helped shape her line
“I guess that has to do with my love of style, and New York is such an amazing place for style… With just living in this world that is so artistic and walking around seeing amazing outfits everyday and being like how can I be a part of that? That also took me by surprise, where I never thought of myself as contributing to fashion, until once again it just clicked.
Literally just one day, I had this idea for a necklace and I became obsessed, I had to see if I could do this and it came out exactly how I had pictured it… When I am making things, I think about specific topics. I also work in history, so sometimes I am thinking about a historical event… But, you don’t go in thinking this is what is going into it, but it just winds up happening.”
I wondered if each of her pieces had some sort of story to go along with it, and she answered that by explaining how as she created each piece, a story would develop as she was creating.
“Sometimes I am just recalling memories, where I visited.. Like there was one reservation that I visited, right outside of Albuquerque, called ACOMA. Although I only went there once with my family, it had such a profound impact on me. It was so up on top of the Mesa and I remember we were touring it, it is no longer inhabited, and I was just thinking I was so obsessed with how the people who lived up there, so they could see any oncoming enemies, but they had to travel down the Mesa to get their water and they had to figure out a way to get their animals on this Mesa. Just that dedication to a lifestyle was really interesting to me. So sometimes I will think about things like that.”
I love that aspect of the storytelling through art and fashion; I was captivated by the back of your pieces, because it is almost as important as the front of them! Usually, when you see jewelry the back just has a clasp, but on your pieces the clasps are art in itself?
“So that is definitely something that got factored in, because of how people responded. So I made one necklace that had, the repurposed canvas clasp, and it had like a little lever, that you open and close. I put that on a necklace and I had it be reversible, where you could wear the clasp in the front or vice versa and people really responded to that. This is something people aren’t doing, I thought maybe this could be something that people know I do.”
I love one that you have with a ribbon, like a corset on the back… that was unique from anything I have ever seen. Usually you would see it on the back of a piece of clothing and it caught my eye. So then I noticed the stones you use, are sometimes raw! They have very interesting colors, and are raw in nature, meaning they are not perfectly cut. Is there a reasoning for Y you use rustic looking, un-perfected stones?
“It is the same as the texture of leather, I want people to think about where these things come from. I love perfected uber-shiny stones too, but when you look at a stone that has been so thoroughly cleaned, you don’t think about its origin. I want people to think that these stones come from the earth and these are finite resources. That is it in a nutshell, I want people to think about where this is coming from.”
Where do you see Palomino in the next few years?
“Hopefully within the next six months, I am working towards total environmentally sustainable and ethically sourced materials. I just received an award from a British company called, Positive Luxury, and they award people who are doing sustainable designs. So it is my goal working with them, to create 100% sustainable and ethically sourced pieces.
I have a couple of shows coming up, more focused on my art and I am really excited about that, because when you think about jewelry as art, as we do for fashion, you get to do whatever you want. I just want to keep experimenting and trying new things and not worrying so much about trends, but instead as art.”
Thank You Kathryn Fuller for sharing your story and inspiration with The Y Life and if you too would like to learn more about Palomino Jewelry, Click Away With Us Here!
A Special Thank You to Palomino Photographer – Jen Painter