How I Got Into Making Jewelry

Sometime during high school (1993 I believe) I picked up a copy of Seventeen magazine and saw an extremely long primary color seed bead necklace featured in a retro 70’s inspired clothing spread.  I remember that the necklace didn’t cost all that much (maybe $35?), but I knew I wouldn’t be able buy it so I decided to try making it.  I asked my mother to take me to AC Moore so I could buy some beads.  I bought a couple packages of beads, some thread and needles and went home to recreate the necklace in the magazine.  With a magnifying glass I copied the exact pattern of beads onto a long 40+” necklace.  I still had some beads left over, so I made a second slightly shorter necklace.  The first necklace was long enough to wrap around my wrist many times and wear as a bracelet. 

At the same time, my mother began beadweaving and made many Native American inspired styles and items.  I learned to make woven chokers and bracelets based on the patterns she was using for her jewelry.  Soon I was making jewelry all the time and even decided to try making my own prom jewelry.  I made a woven white pearl (plastic beads, ha!) choker, bracelet and matching earrings for my junior prom.  The following year I toned it down a bit and made a quick strand of pearls to wear to my senior prom, but I also got paid by a fellow senior for a jewelry set. 

That was my first paid piece.  Making that set was a huge step for me as it was for one of the “popular” girls at school.  I wouldn’t get any recognition for the piece, but I would always know that she had come to me for jewelry.  Now, I could say that at the time I knew even then that jewelry was something that could set me above the rest, but that would be lying.  I just liked knowing that I had made her something and that she liked it. 

I went on to make a few items in college, but soon I got busy being a typical college student and didn’t feel like making jewelry anymore because it wasn’t “cool”.  Looking back, I now see that if I had kept at it maybe it wouldn’t have taken me an additional 13 years to gain the small popularity that I have over the last year. 

Me and my prom date.  May 1994.

Thank you as always for reading and taking the time to travel down memory lane with me.  For more recent information, please visit my website at Nanuk’s Igloo Custom Jewelry.


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