Simplicity. The patina of time. Finding beauty in the unexpected. Each piece of jewelry is hand crafted to create one-of-a-kind, modern heirlooms. My values align with the slow-fashion movement, which is based on sustainability and ethical practices. Quality, fine craftsmanship and longevity; these are all details that allow the work to transcend trend or season.
Nature, unusual materials, ancient artifacts and crafting techniques inspire my work and process. The pieces are bold in scale, substantial without being heavy. I balance clean minimal lines with raw organic elements. Eliminating the non-essential is a guiding principle behind my work. Every piece is carefully considered, whether it's hand carved in wax and then cast (Cast Collection), or hand fabricated from sheets and spools of metal and raw stones (One of a Kind & Chain Collections).
Ethical sourcing requires a transparent supply chain. I work with 100% recycled precious metals and purchase stones from small, family-owned mines and individuals who hand collect, cut and polish the materials themselves. All of my materials are carefully researched, so there is an understanding as to where they come from and whose lives they may impact. Each element captures a moment in time; every piece tells a story.
My ancestors were coppersmiths, sheet metal workers and artists. I feel a strong connection to the materials I work with, knowing that my Great-Great-Grandparents worked with them before me. Through my commitment to bespoke craftsmanship and ethical practices, my work advocates a sustainable model of quality, heirloom jewelry.
I graduated in 1995 from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. My studies included various craft techniques, with a primary focus on jewelry fabrication, casting, welding and metalworking. While living in Los Angeles I was taught the art of stone cutting. My professional studio is located in San Francisco.
Positive change is happening in the industry regarding the use of ethical materials. The number of jewelers demanding recycled metal and ethically sourced stones is growing. Asking questions, voicing concerns to suppliers and keeping the dialog open within the jewelry community are all crucial steps in bringing about these changes.
Studio jewelers and metalsmiths have the power to influence the mining industry. We use our voices to aid mining reform efforts and to help generate industry demand for responsibly sourced metals. I am happy to be part of a large community of jewelers involved with Ethical Metalsmiths, a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people to responsibly sourced metals and gemstones.
I was the contributing eco-jewelry expert on Season 2, Episode 6 of The Lazy Environmentalist on the Sundance Channel with Josh Dorfman - sharing information about ethical material options and sourcing.
Metal - Cast
I work with a women owned casting company, Jena Hounshell Casting in San Francisco, CA and Outcast & Company in Seattle, WA. The casting grain (silver, gold, brass & yellow bronze) is from United Precious Metal Refining, Inc., they are certified by the EICC - GeSI (Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative) as a "Conflict-Free" Smelter.
Fossils are often formed by pseudomorphic replacement of the remains by mineral matter. These include fossil coral, fossil fern, petrified wood, dinosaur bone and other fossilized organisms. The organic materials have been mineralized - replaced and infilled by quartz, opal, calcite, pyrite or other minerals. Although the material itself is not organic, it does preserve an organic structure.
Tiger’s Eye & Lapis
Tiger’s Eye is a variety of macrocrystalline quartz known for its striking chatoyancy i.e., the luminous iridescent streaks of reflected light. It’s thought to be a pseudomorph of Quartz, formed as layers of fibrous Crocidolite were replaced by Chalcedony Quartz. A later theory proposes a simultaneous growth of the minerals through a crack-seal vein-filling process. In either case, iron from the decomposed Crocidolite oxidized to a rich golden brown color, and the reflection of light on the fibers produces the iridescent chatoyant quality.
Lapis Lazuli is chiefly composed of the mineral Lazurite, with additional minerals like white Calcite and sparkling gold flecks of Pyrite. It’s color varies from a rich royal blue with golden flecks to a pale blue with more pronounced white flecks.
Vintage components are ideal, as no new resources are being tapped or exploited. I repurpose vintage glass buttons, mother of pearl belt buckles and stones. My Great-Grandparents owned and operated a lace shop and collected vintage buttons and buckles; these treasures were passed down to me and are now given a new life in one of a kind pieces of jewelry.
Metal - Fabricated
I use recycled precious metals (sterling silver & gold) refined by Hoover & Strong. They do not buy metals from mining companies. All of their precious metals are recycled from the Earth’s existing metal supply. They are certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a globally-recognized, independent third-party certifier and sustainability expert.
Agate is a banded form of finely-grained, microcrystalline Quartz. Usually banded in layers or stripes, some varieties are speckled, some have fossilized inclusions, and others are solid - no two Agates are the same. Dendritic Agate have tree or fern-like inclusions of iron or manganese, called dendrites. Moss Agate contains minerals of a green color embedded in the stone, forming filaments and other patterns suggestive of moss.
Fossilized Walrus and Mammoth Tusk
The Yu'pik, the native people that live on St. Lawrence Island are legally able to surface mine and sell fossilized ivory. The walrus was to the Yu'pik what the buffalo was to the Native American - every part of the animal was used. St Lawrence Island is so far north it has no trees - so the tusk was the only material hard enough for tool making. These tools were eventually broken, discarded and buried by time. Thousands of years later they are being found and dug up. Most of the fossil tusk I use comes from broken tools and artifacts. This fossilized material provides the Yu'pik with a viable source of income and no living animal was harmed in it's procurement.
Petrified Wood & Fossilized Dinosaur Bone
Petrified Wood and Dinosaur Bone are fossils created by an infiltration pseudomorph, or substitution pseudomorph - where one mineral or material is replaced by another. For example, if a tree dies and is buried in sediment, the sediment protects the wood while mineral-laden groundwater seeps through it. The minerals gradually replace and infill the wood structure, keeping the beautiful grain patterns intact.
Volcanic Rock is formed from magma erupted from a volcano. It’s one of the most common rock types on Earth’s surface. It has a vesicular texture, pitted with many cavities (known as vesicles) at its surface and inside.
Sustainable Nuts & Seeds
Betel Nut, Forest Bismark, Piassaba, Jessenia Palm, Raffia Palm, Nubian and Stilt Root Palm. These nuts or “vegetable ivory”, are from different species of palm which grow in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia and parts of Africa. They are sustainably harvested from the forest floor when the cabeza containing the nuts ripens and falls.
Jasper is an opaque variety of Chalcedony, almost always multicolored, with unique color patterns and habits - spotted, ringed, striped or mottled. Jaspers truly capture the incredible artistry of nature itself. The wide variety of patterns resemble desert sands, red walled canyons or striking mountain ranges - they seem to mirror the landscape from which they came. Others reveal abstract paintings, fields of poppies, the night sky or deep ocean currents.