This Self-Taught Metalsmith Turned Her Side Hustle Into a Successful Jewelry Line

By Ren is the handiwork of Rachael Compton.

by ren rachael compton

Rachael Compton, the silversmith behind By Ren / Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

Huntingdon Valley native Rachael Compton is a self-taught metalsmith with a knack for contemporary, minimal designs, which she crafts via her jewelry line, By Ren. Here’s a look at her work — and how she turned her passion for handcrafted baubles into a full-time gig. 

What I make
High-quality, unique and timeless rings, earrings and necklaces that can grow with you as you wear them, are accessible, and are sold at an affordable price point.

Before By Ren
I was in school for advertising and PR when I started learning how to silversmith. I’m self-taught and learned through trial and error, Google, and the occasional YouTube video. I’ve definitely gotten some tips from my jeweler friends as well. Initially, I was just making jewelry for myself, but my friends started asking if they could buy my stuff. Then, in 2017, I spontaneously quit my PR job. [laughs] I didn’t really think it through too much. But I left and started hustling my jewelry on the side while looking for a new job. Then I realized: You know what, I was paying my bills. I had this momentum behind my jewelry. And I slowly stopped looking altogether and launched By Ren later that year.

Selection of finished By Ren pieces

About the name
“Ren” is a combination of a few names of people in my life that are important to me. The R is from my name. The E comes from my mom’s maiden name, Lee. And the N is from my dad’s family name, Compton.

My most memorable collection
I think it was the fourth collection I ever did, using Mexican fire opal. It has that opal flash, but the colors look like they’re encased in petrified clay. It has a really earthy tone. In the set, the gemstone looks like a dragon’s egg.

Rachel Compton’s silversmith tools

What’s next
I have secured a location in Fairmount. I’ve lived in this neighborhood on and off for 10 years. It just feels like home to me. I’m super-excited that I found a good space, and I’m hoping to open in the fall. It’ll have a retail section, my studio, and a space to take custom consultations for things like engagement and wedding rings and any kind of custom work.

Published as “Silver Linings” in the April 2023 issue of Philadelphia magazine.