Falling in love prompted BB Becker’s first attempt to make jewelry in the 1980s; he deconstructed and transformed found pieces into charming gifts for his future bride. Today, his work is a collaborative effort that marries BB’s lovingly-designed sterling silver pendants with his wife Josephine’s graceful handwriting.
This particularly pensive medallion bears a meditation on the bonds we share with family and friends. With one corner curled over as if turning a page on your personal story, each one is engraved with a quotation handwritten in delicate cursive that reads: “The only people who truly know your story are the ones who help you write it.” A recent conversation with BB revealed how ancient art, a meaningful sentiment, and the devoted characters who fill our personal stories inspired the creation of this writerly, wearable artwork.
What inspires your work?
Seeing the Rosetta Stone and antiquities like it gave me an appreciation for humanity’s efforts over the ages to communicate through chiseled words and images on hard surfaces. My jewelry continues this tradition with the added modern-day benefit of mobility, letting you take inspirational words with you.
What inspired you to create the Your Story Necklace in particular?
UncommonGoods Jewelry & Accessories Buyer Sharon Hitchcock asked us to create a piece that would allow the customer to give their personal interpretation of its meaning and enjoy the beauty of sterling silver in an “uncommon shape.” Our Your Story Necklace is the result. Whether a family member or friend, each of us knows who shares our life story.
Can you tell us how it is made, from start to finish?
Every design begins with words often found in out-of-print books at thrift stores. The shape of the final design is a process of handwriting words on paper. (Yes, we actually make paper jewelry pieces first.) The engraving is in Jo’s distinctive handwriting using a secret process. Age-old silver smithing techniques of hand-forging, soldering, and buffing to a brilliant high polish produce the beautiful result.
What is your favorite part of the process?
Two things: 1) The marriage of meaningful words with beautiful pieces of jewelry feeds our creative spirit; 2) After far too many prototypes, the perfectly finished new design always makes us smile.
How do you hope people react when they see your designs?
Seeing the reaction of people first-hand at art fairs always surprises us. Naturally, we want our work to be appreciated, but when our jewelry brings a memory or feeling to mind that moves someone to tears, or laughter, or somewhere in between, we are deeply rewarded.
Have you received any memorable customer feedback that you’d like to share?
There are far too many stories to pick a favorite, but the feedback frequently ends with, “I’m never taking it off!” Years ago we took this metaphorically, but now after the occasional return of a well-loved piece asking for restoration in some small way, we realize the wearer has literally worn it daily. As we hold these older patinated pieces, we can feel the wearer’s energy; it’s really special.