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Handmade Jewelry

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jewelry Designer Sue Beatrice

April 9, 2018
Jewelry Designer and Artist Sue Beatrice | UncommonGoods

Jewelry designer and sculptor Sue Beatrice in her Sea Cliff, NY, studio, studio photos by Cassie Tweten Delaney

Have you ever looked inside of a modern watch? Despite being able to do much more than tell time, today’s “timepieces” look surprisingly simple when you crack them open. But, as artist and jewelry designer Sue Beatrice showed us, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, for centuries clocks and watches were loaded with teeny-tiny parts: wheels, pinions, bearings, and nearly microscopic screws. To say Sue is enamored with timepieces is an understatement. Her collection of antique clocks, watches, and their components is massive. When asked how many pieces she thinks she has, she can only reply, “Way too many to count.” So what does she do with all of those gorgeous gears? She turns them into remarkable little sculptures. Some of those sculptures even end up as eclectic-yet-elegant jewelry designs.

Sue’s jewelry isn’t all made from itty-bitty parts, but it is all lovingly designed with great attention to detail. Her Love “Nose” Necklace is so cute it’s pretty much impossible not to smile when you see it. Her Origami Menagerie Necklaces look almost like they could be made from actual paper. (Shiny paper; they’re sterling silver!) And her Stargazer Necklace captures a map of the constellations.  Of course, we carry a few of her delightful designs made from clock parts, too.

 

Origami Menagerie Necklaces, photo by UncommonGoods Creative Team

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio
with Michale Dancer

January 5, 2018

Michale Dancer in her Bay Area studio, photos by Emily Hodges

From fallen leaves found during nature hikes to pasta bow ties that just so happened to be dinner for the night, there’s nothing that Michale Dancer can’t dip in 24-karat gold… or copper, or silver! Michale is a creative director, product developer, and jewelry designer extraordinaire based in the Bay Area of Northern California, and the one question she’s constantly asking herself is, “Can I dip this in gold?” Usually the answer to that question is, “Why, of course.”

When I visited Michale’s studio, I was shocked to see so many random items, objects we usually take for granted, carefully tucked away or patiently waiting for their gold/silver/copper makeover. Four leaf clovers, coffee beans, peanuts, sand dollars, maple leaves, dog biscuits, and pieces of kale are just a few items Michale has learned to perfect transforming over the years into stunning jewelry pieces or soon-to-be heirloom ornaments. Michale says, “Truthfully, we can’t stop designing. We have to control ourselves as we already have so many [designs]!”

Prior to my visit, I knew that Michale dipped the actual items and didn’t replicate shapes through a molding process. But seeing the pieces right there in front of me—a peanut’s natural “before” state and then its glamorous “after”—I definitely started to feel skeptical. “So, every single piece you work with… it really is the actual item behind the gold?” I asked. Michale smiled and nodded her head. “Every single piece! It’s real. Shake the gold peanut necklace you’re holding right now.” I followed Michale’s directions and, sure enough, I heard the little peanuts inside bounce around the walls of the shell. From that moment, I truly understood that Michale’s inspiration is literally… everywhere, which can be a blessing and a curse. “I’m always stopping. Whether I’m hiking right outside my house or going to the market or cooking with natural spices, I always find something that I know I can potentially use as a design.”

We’re used to nature decaying throughout the seasons or eating and throwing away food every day, yet Michale gives a second life to certain items and elevates their beauty for others to treasure as a keepsake for years to come. Read our Q&A below and find out how many hours it takes Michale to complete just one design from start to finish, plus why Steve Jobs keeps her motivated every single day.

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Design, Maker Resources

11 Things You Didn’t Know about Handmade Jewelry

November 30, 2017

Handmade jewelry has been a sought after closet “staple” for decades. Whether it’s the only kind of jewelry you buy or something you picked up on vacation, you have at least one piece of handmade jewelry. What is it about something that’s made by hand that draws our attention? My theory is that an artisan’s personal connection and love of their craft transforms ordinary objects into jewelry masterpieces. Still, most people don’t understand the true value of handmade jewelry compared to its mass-produced counterparts. There are many reasons why handcrafted jewelry is more of an investment than pieces that are produced in mass quantities, so we thought we’d break it down for you! Below are 11 things you didn’t know about handmade jewelry.

“I get to hatch an idea for a new piece and BOOM! I can make it appear. Feels magical.” — Britta Ambauen

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Maker Stories

Takeoffs and Landings: A Conversation with Jerry Moran

August 15, 2017

Although we know him best for his handcrafted accessories, Colorado creator Jerry Moran is much more than just a jeweler. For much of his adult life, in fact, Jerry was a self-described “ordinary guy” working in the aerospace industry, getting up close and personal with planes—not necklaces—on an everyday basis. Now Jerry pays tribute to his beloved aircraft by crafting his goods from their disused parts, giving retired planes otherwise primed for destruction an opportunity to brighten the lives of jewelry enthusiasts and aircraft aficionados alike.

To celebrate the induction of a selection of Jerry’s wares into our growing assortment, we engaged him and his wife, Mary, in a brief back-and-forth, digging deeper into the details of what drives him to create (and how he got started on jewelry in the first place). Read on for more on Jerry’s fascinating background, including an account of the pair of earrings that started it all, plus a few words of wisdom courtesy of—surprise—rugby.

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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

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Maker Stories

Penmanship Meets Pendant: BB Becker’s Your Story Necklace

February 3, 2016

Jo and BB Becker | UncommonGoods
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.

Your Story Necklace | UncommonGoodsThis 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.

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Design

Stefanie Wolf’s Mosaic Necklace 7 Ways

January 15, 2016

We knew that jewelry designer Stefanie Wolf’s Mosaic Necklaces are beautiful, versatile pieces, but we didn’t know that just how many ways you can wear them until yesterday, when Stefanie sent us this great video showing seven ways. (We’ll admit, it’s three more than we’d thought of, and we LOVE the new suggestions.)

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Gift Guides

12 Must-Have Jewelry & Accessories Pairings To Fit Your Unique Style

December 3, 2015

When you have a unique sense of style, finding jewelry and accessories with the right amount of flair can be tricky. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with our original and inspired finds, so let your funky flag fly and make a statement with our fashion-forward picks. Here are 12 quirky jewelry and accessories pairings that let you celebrate your eclectic tastes and might even start some new trends!

Beach Marble Necklace & Tie Dye Socks| UncommonGoods

Beach Marble Necklace & Tie Dye Socks

Call on your inner child for some fashion advice! Echoing a sense of playfulness and carefree style, these one-of-a-kind Beach Marble Necklaces and Tie Dye Socks are an easy way to sprinkle some color and fun into your daily ensemble.

Floral Watch Birth Month Flower Necklace|UncommonGoods

 Floral Wood Watch & Birth Month Flower Necklace

Every flower has a special meaning and no two blooms are alike. Nurture your independent sense of style with these feminine floral accessories. Pair your Birth Month Flower Necklace and Floral Wood Watch for a graceful reminder of the infinite possibilities found in nature.

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