RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The owner of a Richmond jewelry business is celebrating a major accomplishment this week after she was recently named in the 2023 Forbes 30 under 30 list.

Emily Warden, a 27-year-old Virginia native, is quite familiar with stones. When she discovered metalsmithing in college at James Madison University, Warden realized her love of jewelry and stones could turn into a profitable business. 

“I had no idea that metal smithing existed before I took the class,” Warden said. “I got more and more into the designing aspect and I wanted to pursue more 3D, hands-on work. I hated it at first, but I started to get into the stones more and then I really fell in love with it.”

Warden says her jewelry business-turned-company, Emily Warden Designs, started as a trial run when she told her parents she wanted to see if she could make her business profitable in a year.

“After I graduated, I told my parents I was going to try to do it full time for a year and do crafts shows and trade shows and things like that, start my own website, see how it went and if I was able to support myself for that year,” she said. “Luckily, I was able to, and it just gained more and more momentum.” 

Now she has about seven years of experience in the practice of metal smithing and knows that her focus is on creating personal designs with plenty of meaning.

Emily Warden, a 27-year-old Virginia native and founder of Emily Warden Designs, ranked 21 on the 2023 Forbes 30 under 30 for her Richmond-based jewelry business. (Credit: 8News)

“Now I would say the focus is primarily on bridal jewelry,” Warden said. “I love working with customers because it’s a more intentional experience to get to design for someone and incorporate the more meaningful aspects, like what they want and what the piece represents. That is important to me. I love the meaning behind all the jewelry.”

Warden’s grand opening on Hanover Avenue in the Fan District comes just a couple of days after she was ranked number 21 on Forbes 30 under 30 list

“It was really early in the morning, and I saw the acceptance email and I screamed,” she said. “I woke up my husband. He said he had a dream I made it, so he was right.”

According to Forbes, Emily Warden Designs is on track to reach $2 million dollars in revenue this year.