As I’ve been building Kyle Cavan over the past few years, I’ve spent countless hours traveling to campuses around the country, reconnecting with old friends, and meeting new ones. Compass Connections is meant to be a place where we can share the stories of students and alumni whose passion and purpose we hope to honor through our collections. It seemed fitting that the first post should tell my story. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I’ve enjoyed getting to live it.
The idea started small. A few years after college graduation, I was looking at my own collection of jewelry – defined by a few too many oversized costume necklaces. I was truly proud of the collection that I’d put together but I realized that my cherished pieces weren’t the loudest, newest or even my most expensive. My real treasures were the one that were handed down to me and that I never took off, like the cross that I had worn underneath those oversized necklaces since my 16th birthday. They weren’t just beautiful, they inspired me, and they connected me to my family and my past. Each piece evoked feelings in me that were beyond description, and together they told my life’s story. This is when I knew I wanted to design jewelry that would have meaning for every person that wore it. With this new purpose in mind, I immediately reflected on what was missing from my story and it was in this moment that the Kyle Cavan story began.
My years at Duke University were some of the most important years in my life, but I owned very few things that reminded me of those years. I had never purchased a class ring, because, even at 21, I knew I would never wear it. So, I set out to redefine the classic class ring and design a Duke-inspired jewelry collection that I would be proud to wear every day. The Signature Bracelet was my modern take on the classic piece that many people owned, but few actually wore.
The architectural elements were not introduced until I stepped back onto the Duke University campus and into the Duke University chapel. Call it my AHA moment but transforming the detailed gothic vaulted ceiling of the chapel into that first Shield Pendant came naturally. I had been considering using elements from my family crest, in the shape of a shield, as a logo, and it seemed like a natural fit that the 21st century interpretation of family shields would be found in the hallways of higher education. The rest of the designs came together as I began to source my inspiration from the iconic architecture, familiar crests and timeless beauty found on college campuses like Duke.
Today, we have 13 college collections and we continue to grow. It is my hope that these collections stand the test of time and serve as a reminder of one of my favorite quotes,
With Love, Kyle