How This CNM Grad Turned His Bench Jewelry Education Into A Thriving Business

Aaron North never thought he’d become a jeweler. But now he owns a thriving jewelry company and is excited about the future of jewelry making in New Mexico.
October 17, 2022

Aaron North, owner of North House Jewelry, loves the history and culture that comes with his profession and he takes pride in helping carry on the tradition of people adorning their bodies with jewelry. However, owning a jewelry business, or becoming a jeweler at all for that matter, wasn’t always his end goal — until he attended CNM.

Early on, Aaron tried everything from car sales to high-end retail trying to make fast, easy money. This worked for him for a while, but eventually Aaron realized he was miserable living from one sale to the next. He then tried going the traditional artist route, but struggled with the continuous fight of finding and keeping an audience. It was at this point that Aaron decided to find his way in the art community through education.

“I wanted to do something I truly loved, and making art has always made me happy,” Aaron says. “I posted on Facebook just asking my friends and family if they knew of any opportunities for an aspiring artist. One of my friend’s mom actually worked for the CNM Art Department at the time and she helped me get registered for jewelry classes at the last minute.” 

Aaron credits much of his success to his time at CNM, especially because of the succinct, well-laid out nature of the courses. In three terms he learned the basics of piercing, working with sheet metal, casting, stone setting, and more. Along with the technical skills, Aaron is also grateful to have been able to pursue his education here in New Mexico, because it allowed him to dive deeper into the state’s rich history of jewelry making.

Today as full-time jeweler and entrepreneur, Aaron is focused on being a well-rounded professional who can make anything. He’s also excited about building his business and advocating for the industry.

“Even since I started my business in 2021, I have only seen growth in jewelry,” Aaron says.

He credits the younger generations with driving new interest in jewelry, but he also sees very few people making jewelry. This is where Aaron sees his biggest opportunity to give back to communities in New Mexico and beyond.

“I eventually want to offer classes and courses, especially to underserved communities because jewelry offers so many great career paths that are solely based on the skill of the individual,” he says.

Aaron eventually wants to build his business into a company similar to Tiffany & Co., that doesn't compromise on quality, but still offers a line of affordable pieces.

As he reflects on his journey, Aaron remembers a time where he couldn’t imagine being a jeweler. 

“It’s really a funny story,” Aaron says. “I was probably 19 or 20 and I went with my mom to pick up some jewelry she had taken to be repaired. From the window I could see the jewelers bench with just so many tools and metals and stones strewn about and all I could think about was how tedious it looked. I remember thinking to myself, ‘I would never do that,’” he says with a laugh.

Now, he’s grateful for his business, the knowledge and experience he gained at CNM, and the opportunity he has to make art every day.