The Kyle Cavan Penn Collection Iconic Bangle ($395.00), inspired by College Hall
or seniors at Penn and across the country, the time to order graduation announcements, regalia, and commemorative class rings will come all too quickly. If clunky rings aren’t your thing, though, fret not: there are options outside of the bookstore’s paltry, poorly lit display.
One option Penn students will find designed just for them? The Penn Collection by Kyle Cavan, a jewelry startup that crafts school-specific bangles and other commemorative pieces that feature iconic architectural details of their respective campuses.
Kyle Cavan founder & designer Kyle Garcia on Locust
As an undergrad at Duke searching for a college accessory that would suit her style, Kyle Cavan founder Kyle Garcia decided to ditch the traditional class ring in favor of the Hermès bangle de rigeur — in her school’s signature color, of course. “I told my mom, ‘I’ll wear it every day for the rest of my life!'” she recalls. Today, though, it’s not this bangle, but a stack of her own metal-and-colored-leather designs, that grace her wrist.
Kyle first conceived the idea of a line of college jewelry that was both commemorative and wearable when she attended her 5-year college reunion, and was dismayed to find that she didn’t own a single piece of jewelry that truly represented her time in college.
The solution? Design her own.
The front (left) and back (right) of the Fisher Fine Arts Library Shield Pendant ($145.00 )
Her first piece was the Duke shield pendant, inspired by the University’s iconic chapel. It was also her “aha moment”: she realized that the architectural details of the diverse and regal buildings that grace American college campuses evoked fond memories of college days better than the school colors, crest, or logo featured on typical college jewelry ever could.
From there, Kyle Cavan — named for both its founder and the county in Ireland from which her family hails — expanded on a grassroots basis to include 14 schools, with a collection constructed around each school’s iconic architecture.
The Penn Collection — one of the brand’s very first — features a bespoke brushed bangle, in gold or silver, embossed with the outline of College Hall, as well as shield pendant necklaces and cufflinks featuring the ornate window panes of the Fisher Fine Arts library. New to the line this fall is a dainty College Hall necklace, as well as a dainty deconstructed compass lariat likely to bring any Penn alumna back to her early freshman days of superstitious avoidance of stepping on the center of the compass for fear of failing midterms.
The American-made collection is designed to be worn alongside the heirloom pieces you cherish. The go-tos in Kyle’s own jewelry collection? An ornate, textured cross necklace from her Aunt Patsy that layers perfectly above the large gold Duke shield necklace she sports. Other favorite passed-down pieces include a men’s watch from her grandfather and earrings from her mom. Staying true to this tradition, Kyle Cavan, too, is a family affair, with Kyle’s sister Elizabeth managing the brand’s marketing.
Kyle & Elizabeth Garcia on Penn’s campus
A history major during her years at Duke, Kyle wears both the “designer” and “entrepreneur” mantels lightly. She’s always been more intrigued by, say, post-World World II Infrastructure than world-class art museums. Of the city she and her company call home, which offers ample opportunities to observe both, she says: “I’d rather walk the streets of New York, any day.” ✵
Images courtesy of Elizabeth Garcia & Kyle Cavan