The Aide-mémoire Story
Aide-mémoire, founded by designer Aran Galligan, is an inclusive, queer woman-owned, small business located in Seattle, Washington - home of the Coast Salish people. We focus on handmade, eco-friendly, and conflict-free everyday fine jewelry, wedding bands, and engagement rings. Our mission is to create future heirlooms in an environmentally and socially responsible way, which we hope will become a part of your family's story. Get to know 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, recycled natural, or conflict-free newly mined. 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 Ridge 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

Alaina Steffan
studio & customer service coordinator

Alaina has lived in the PNW her whole life and loves living in Seattle (although she could honestly do without the rain). A life-long maker, she has always loved creating things with her hands and studied art and jewelry design in college. When she's not working you can find Alaina knitting, playing games with her husband and friends, and having her personal space encroached upon by her dogs, Melee and Mayhem.

 

Alaina’s favorite Aide-mémoire piece: Chunky Bead-set Five Stone Ring

June Cream
bench jeweler

Originally from sunny Southern California, June moved to Seattle in her 20's and quickly found a comfort and sense of home she never knew at the beach. With a degree in art education that has never been used, and a background in the service industry that left her feeling uninspired, June was pleased to have fallen passionately in love with the art of jewelry making and found a new career as a bench jeweler and stone setter. The intricate work she does for Aide-Mémoire goes hand in hand with her love of small details and tiny things. When not working at the bench ... (she is always at the bench), she can be found tinkering in the shed, playing with the dog, and sticking her nose in all the flowers.

 

June’s favorite Aide-mémoire piece: Prong-set Five Stone Stacking Ring, in Yellow Gold

Alexa
social media & photo editing

Alexa is a Filipina-American artist and designer from the Pacific Northwest and currently based in Uruguay. With her background in interior architecture and passion for sustainability and handmade products, Alexa loves to amplify Aide-Mémoire's mission through various platforms. Outside of work, you'll find her exploring new techniques with ceramics, reading tarot, or curled up with her favorite book.

 

Alexa’s favorite Aide-mémoire piece: Large Sculpted Disc Diamond Stud Earrings

Mikko
writer & web/graphic designer

Mikko grew up on the East Coast but loves the PNW. She holds degrees in Anthropology, Graphic Design, and Printmaking. Mikko continues her educational journey with us by learning about the jewelry process and jewelry history while writing about our products and designing our marketing materials. You can find her lounging with her furry friends, teaching her dogs new agility tricks, or learning new languages when not working.

 

Mikko’s favorite Aide-mémoire piece: Diamond Double Deco Magic Ring Holder Necklace, in Yellow Gold