Maker Stories

Jewelry Making in the Age of Powerful Women: Meet Britta Ambauen

April 20, 2017

If you’ve never seen a Britta Ambauen design, they are elegant, standalone works with significant range. Think: hand-hammered gold bangles and jade gemstone peapod necklaces. But look closer and many of her pieces offer an inspiring quote, like her River Bangle bracelet, which is inscribed with the Rumi quote: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving through you, a joy.” It’s her hope that women can wear something beautiful, but more importantly be reminded of something special to them.

“Our thoughts are so powerful that when you revisit one over and over, it can help you manifest your goals,” she says. Currently, Britta is hooked on a necklace she made using a stone found in Arizona at her brother’s wedding last year. She laid a piece of silver behind it and etched, “This above all: To thine self be true,” a Shakespearean quote that she says reminds her to stick to her truths rather than listening to people’s judgments.

Britta’s Mama Bear Necklaces can be customized to feature all of your mama bear’s cubs

One of her biggest truths is that women should empower each other. This sentiment stems from her mother who taught her to reject social constructs from an early age. “My mom is really artistic and fun,” she says, “I used to be so worried about being a good student, but every first day of spring she’d take us out of school and we’d go to the beach to enjoy the outdoors.” These spontaneous acts kept Britta’s mind fresh, allowing her to think outside of the box. Several popular designs inspired by her mom include the Mama Bear Necklace and Mother Hood Tree of Life Necklace, with customizable features to represent the unique bond between mother and child.

Britta’s custom Motherhood Tree of Life Necklace contains a locket filled with the birthstones in your family tree

Perhaps the biggest manifestation of her mother’s alternative views is how Britta chooses to run her business. With several regular helpers, she takes responsibility for teaching both jewelry design and the importance of women advocating for one another.

Britta (center) with her team members Lydia (left) and Jennifer, who work in the studio soldering, etching, forming, filing, finishing, and assembling

“I see my business as a community of women that support each other rather than compete with each other,” she says, “I hope to instill that in the girls.” Britta can recall many strong women who have helped her achieve great things, including her instructor from Outward Bound who several years after offered her an apprenticeship. This completely changed the course of her life.

“She taught me so much about owning a business, but also the importance of community and helping each other,” she recalls. In her Austin shop, business is booming and with her own apprentices, Britta has her hand in a variety of aesthetics including watercolor paintings of different wine regions. She describes her studio as “being inside my brain with all my creative tools and artwork on the walls. Easels, clay, a pottery wheel, it’s always kind of a mess.”

Britta’s ideas are often inspired by the strong women around her who don’t follow a prescribed pattern for life. Hoping to compliment that feminine strength, she crafts one-of-a-kind pieces like her Rainbow of Possibilities Necklace. Shaped like a lucky horseshoe with tiny colorful beads strewn across the top, it’s a daily reminder to stay strong and bright, a mission she stays true to each day. It’s her hope that when you wear it you’ll find the same spirit. “I like to describe my customer as unapologetically herself,” she says. “She’s willing to take risks and follow her dream.”

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2 Comments

  • Reply Steve Sommers May 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    I’m interested in you peas in a pod necklace. My wife does not do silver, any plans to offer a gold option?

    • Reply Cassie May 15, 2017 at 11:09 am

      Hi Steve, we’re glad you like the necklace. We don’t have any plans to offer a gold version at the moment, but we’ll let our jewelry buyer know about your suggestion. Thanks for reading our blog!

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