loving the job, part 1

It’s been almost 9 months since I launched my own jewelry design business. Handmade jewelry, designed and worked in precious metals by little ol’ me. Although I have no children, it feels a bit like I have a new baby. It demands my constant attention, and brings me joy in the most simple, quite odd ways. Every now and then, people who know me from my transportation policy wonk days ask how things are going. Where do I get my ideas? How am I managing the transition? What do I love most about being self-employed? What do I love most about jewelry design?

This last question is my favorite, because the answer is surprising and simple.

The best part of independent jewelry design is all the stories people bring me. Hands down.

Jess' Israeli glass - Zabe Bent Metals

Jess wanted a simple chain for this piece of hand-blown glass, which she & her beau picked up while traveling in Israel

It brings me immense pleasure to learn the stories behind the baubles people wear. The reason behind the pieces of art they choose to adorn themselves. It’s amazing. Sometimes it’s an earring they’ve lost and they’d like something similar fashioned to replace it. Sometimes they’re looking for a bangle that’s not too heavy. Sometimes a simple toe-ring.

All are interesting especially an item they’ve purchased or found while traveling, like this colorful glass pendant from Israel. Michael brought it to me for Jess, who wanted it hung on something more interesting than the string she had been using. What fun to create this simple chain with extra loops for her!

I have had the pleasure of providing custom mother’s day gifts, birthday gifts, and more. As you can imagine, this includes fashioning anniversary bands, engagement bands, and wedding bands. I must admit it’s a double-edged sword to know when a friend is getting engaged before they do. Being a co-conspirator is a thrill, but keeping that secret can be difficult!

Don’t get me wrong; I love creating a collection of pieces inspired by everyday things. And I love hearing that someone wears a piece every single day–s/he just loves it that much. Custom pieces, though, are like icing on a cake. I get to work on something fun and creative, feeding off the energy and direction of the client. I also get to hear the love story behind the piece, whether for spouse, family, or friend. And then I get to create a piece that commemorates that love.

Yup. My job is awesome.


  1. Liz. · · Reply

    You are finding the joy – that’s great. Happy for you!.

    1. Thanks! It’s still work, but a labor of love. I feel pretty lucky.

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