The Aide-mémoire Story

Aran Galligan founded Aide-mémoire in 2012 with a commitment to handcrafting accessible fine jewelry while maintaining ethical and environmentally conscious standards.

Inspired by the spirit of the handmade, Galligan expanded Aide-mémoire in 2021 with a brick-and-mortar shop. In addition to Aide-mémoire’s line of fine jewelry, the shop features creatively-made and environment-forward items crafted from a diverse background of Makers, including those in the LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and women-run business communities.

Aide-mémoire is located in Seattle’s Phinney neighborhood. We respectfully recognize this land as home of the Duwamish Tribe, the First Peoples of Seattle.

Meet Aran and discover the meaning behind our shop name.

Our Process

Our team believes in high-quality craftsmanship with a sharp focus on ethically sourced materials and processes. We merge traditional handcraft techniques with the latest technology – utilizing everything from time-honored metalworking skills to computer-aided design and 3D printing. The core Aide-mémoire jewelry collection is carefully crafted in-house by our bench jewelers. Additionally, we collaborate with local master stone-setters and engravers who've honed their skills over a lifetime.

We work exclusively with a select few suppliers for our metals, diamonds, and gemstones; as part of the Ethical Metalsmiths Community, we collectively vet these suppliers. The precious metals we use are recycled, except for chains. Currently, there is no source for 100% recycled chains.

Our colored gemstones are either lab-grown, recycled, or fair trade. The diamonds we use are lab-grown, or recycled natural. At Aide-mémoire, we are more stringent in our diamond sourcing than the narrow scope of the Kimberley Process (KP). We acknowledge that the KP alone is not enough to make a conflict-free claim. Our strict sourcing limits the range of stones we offer; however, our priority is creating jewelry with integrity.

Community Work

Aran enjoys volunteering with local organizations that uplift community voices and remind people to go vote! As a company, Aide-mémoire makes monthly contributions to the following organizations:

Lambda Legal “is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.”

Higher Heights “is the only national organization providing Black women with a political home exclusively dedicated to harnessing their power to expand Black women’s elected representation and voting participation, and advance progressive policies.”

Duwamish Tribal Services The Duwamish Tribe are the First Peoples of Seattle. Their culture and identity are tied to this land. We pay rent to Duwamish Tribal Services and honor their stewardship of this land. Support the Duwamish people and learn more about actions you can take!

Brick-and-Mortar

Dreams are in full bloom at Aide-mémoire with the opening of our new brick-and-mortar shop in Seattle's Phinney neighborhood. With equal parts love and determination, Aran's making her dream of opening a shop a rainbow-filled reality!

As a welcoming, safe space for all people, an essential part of our store's mission is to highlight makers in the LGBTQ, BIPOC, and female-business-run communities. Our hope is you'll experience the joy of bringing home a handcrafted or upcycled piece made with a creative voice and the power of the human spirit.

In addition to our Aide-mémoire designs, we'll feature accessibly priced jewelry from fellow artists, handmade ceramics, artwork, and delightfully unexpected gifts. Come by and treat yourself or spread the joy of the handcrafted with a thoughtful gift for the bridesmaids, groomsmen, or wedding attendants on your list.

Find out more about our Makers: visit our Maker Page to discover the artists who bring their creative spirt to our shop, or read our High Five Blog series for fun interviews with our Makers.

Say Hello to Our Aide-mémoire Team  

Aran Galligan
founder, designer & maker

Aran is inspired by principles of modern design (simplicity, functionality, and truth to materials) as well as the idea that beauty lies in the imperfect mark
of the hand and the natural weathering of materials over time. That subtle imperfections in handmade work, or a patina on a ring after a lifetime of wear, are moments of celebration and beauty.

They are a Seattle transplant from the East Coast, who started their metalsmithing journey in 1996 at Virginia Commonwealth University, then went on to study metals at Penland School of Crafts and SUNY New Paltz. They spend their free time crafting functional objects in various materials and browsing antique malls and salvage yards, searching for unique wood and rusty metal stuff with rich texture and patina.

Aran’s favorite Aide-mémoire piece (hard to pick just one!): Small Ancient Texture Signet Ring and Diamond Scatter Ancient Engagement Ring

  • Discover more about our team:
  • tap or hover over each photo

Rachael Bartley 
__master stone setter and engraver


favorite Aide-mémoire piece:
diamond round faceted post earrings

Rosalie Battah
__sales associate


favorite Aide-mémoire piece:
medium sculpted disc diamond pendant

Mikko Kim
__copy, print, and web design


favorite Aide-mémoire piece:
sculpted torus ring

Alaina Steffan  
__studio and customer service coordinator


favorite Aide-mémoire piece:
chunky bead-set five stone ring

Alexa Villanueva 
__social media and photo editing


favorite Aide-mémoire piece:
large sculpted disc diamond stud earrings