Prior to actually crafting any jewelry, I research the items I have found to learn more about their history and origin. Some of this history can be discovered through special markings I find that might give me a clue as to the original designer and time period. Some of my favorite vintage jewelry designers include Coro, Sarah Coventry, Miriam Haskell and Trifari. The history contributes to the unique story associated with each piece of art I create.
The next step in the process is to look at the construction of the original artifacts. I assess the strength and integrity of the overall structure which helps me determine the flexibility I have to repurpose each item into a new design. This includes ensuring the precious and semi-precious stones are secure and the hardware is intact. Sometimes my changes are merely a restoration of the original but often times I dramatically change the design to create a new piece of wearable art.
I find artistic inspiration in a variety of ways. In fact, I sometimes hold an original piece of jewelry for an extended period of time before a vision of the perfect redesign or purpose presents itself. For example, I enjoy transforming individual earrings and vintage shoe clips from the 20’s and 30’s into stylish pendants. Or I may even convert a 1950’s necklace into a bracelet. Whenever possible, I use vintage materials, although I always change the ear wire on earrings and usually the clasps on all necklaces and bracelets. I generally use sterling silver or gold-filled for the hardware unless other matching materials are needed such as brass or copper.
As you can see, I get great satisfaction by immersing myself in the research, design and “renewable” process to create one-of-a-kind jewelry that fits a variety of tastes and individual styles.