Artist and metalsmith Melissa Hampton launched Ascendant Jewelry Studio in August 2019. Although she has been making jewelry for decades, she took time after graduate school to build her business while working full time in the nonprofit sector. Born and raised outside of St. Louis, MO, Melissa became fascinated with jewelry and the idea of adornment after inheriting her grandmother’s collection of vintage costume jewelry as a young girl. She went on to explore this field and in 2015 earned a Masters in Fine Arts: Studio Art from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville where she majored in Metals and Jewelry Design. She uses a variety of traditional and unconventional metalsmithing techniques to express big ideas in the form of wearable sculpture.