All that Glitters
With Mack & Jane Jewelry, owner Jane Makransky steps into the spotlight with a line of distinctive pieces adored by many
by Meg Lappe

Jane Makransky’s artistic ambitions date back to her youth, but not even in her wildest dreams did she imagine that Hollywood’s best and brightest would one day wear something she crafted with her bare hands. Like every good story, her unfathomable dream became reality.

Makransky had been an attorney in the Philadelphia area when fate intervened seven years ago and turned her life upside down. She suffered through a serious illness that required several hospitalizations and surgeries. “I spent a lot of time in hospitals looking out of windows and watching the rest of the world going about its business,” she recalls. “Once it was all over, it really gave me a lot of perspective.”

She came away from this jarring experience realizing that she could no longer ignore her true passion: designing and creating distinctive jewelry. Although she remains an attorney by day, she is now also a designer of high-quality necklaces and leather cuffs by night, as founder and owner of Mack & Jane Jewelry.

After diving headfirst into the new venture, the self-taught designer opened a store on Etsy, which she “never really loved” because maintaining the store was mechanically cumbersome. However, Etsy did help to expose her to buyers from across the country, including one woman in Los Angeles who hosted celebrity events and parties. The woman thought Makransky’s beach-chic necklaces would be perfect in the gift baskets for an upcoming mother-to-be party whose invite list included several high-profile attendees.

Makransky shipped 15 of her gold-plated necklaces—designed with semi-precious gems and gold-leafed baby shells—out to Los Angeles for the party. She later received a few thank-you notes from celebrities but didn’t think much else of it. She continued to hone her skills and explore new ways of improving and building her brand.

She eventually happened upon leather as a design medium. Although leather proved harder to work with than jewels, she says she loved learning “new ways to manipulate and fold the leather.” Even today, each leather cuff is unique, and she feels this is why they have garnered significant attention. The cuffs are created in several stages over a period of many days, because it takes time for certain parts to glue, dry, set and cure.

Some leathers are easier to work with than others and some Makransky simply prefers. One is a hot-pink embossed leather that “looks like snake leather,” she says, “but there is only one store in the world I have found that sells it, and that is in Portugal.” In fact, all of the leathers she prefers are difficult to procure in the United States and must be imported into the country from elsewhere.

Roll Out the Red Carpet
Originally from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and currently residing in Radnor, Makransky has worked hard to build brand awareness in the past year, and the public-relations push has been paying off. She expects to have her jewelry represented in 15 stores by early spring. Such growth, however, means that she might need some help in assembling the pieces in order to increase her stock.

She could find herself needing more than a little help in the coming months, based on one particular success story. A little less than six months after her pieces were sent to the West Coast for the mommy-to-be party, Makransky again heard from her client in Los Angeles. This time, she asked if Makransky could design and create cuffs for an upcoming event. Makransky immediately agreed and also asked what the event was. Without a break in the conversation, the client informed Makransky that 50 of her custom-designed cuffs would be included in gift bags for the Oscars on March 2.

In December Makransky began to prepare, all while balancing her regular inventories and special orders. To make sure all 50 bracelets were completed in time, she narrowed her leather colors to orchid (Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year), cream, black or sky blue. “There might’ve been 12 orchids, but no two were the same,” she says. “It would make life easier, but I don’t repeat.” Each cuff featured gold or silver medallions, while some had Swarovski crystals.

“More than just making them, packaging is extremely important,” says Makransky. She enjoys not only designing each one but also the subsequent wrapping and packaging. For the Oscars she opted for a sleek look, with black boxes topped with cream flowers and ruffled black ribbon. Toward the end of February, her house “looked like Santa’s workshop,” she says, wall to wall with leather, ribbon, glue and perfect little medallions.

Although Makransky did not get to attend the Oscars, she has reaped ample benefits. She was contacted by NBC Channel 10 to be a fashion commentator for the Golden Globes in January, and she has also been featured on the CBS program “Talk Philly” the week before the Oscars. Her cuffs have received attention in numerous blogs and other print-media outlets as well.

As of now, her bracelets can be purchased on her website or at boutiques along the Main Line and in other parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.  

Using her imagination and ingenuity, Makransky continues to expand her distinctive jewelry line, even with the demands of her regular job. “I’m working [on the jewelry] until midnight every night,” she says. “I have a long-term goal in my head, and I’m just focusing on it and believing I can get there.”

Based on the client response—and the possibility that her creations could very well be adorning the wrists of Hollywood’s elite—others believe it, too.

Mack & Jane Jewelry
610-212-4614 |

Photograph by Jody Robinson