I enjoy finding handmade jewelry made by artisans. I regularly mine Esty.com for fresh designers to include in my posts. It’s important to support the artists out there, living their passion! The only challenge sometimes is finding them. There are sites out there, like Etsy.com and ArtFire.com, but otherwise it’s hard to connect with someone whose aesthetic speaks to you.
I discovered a designer recently the old-fashioned way: at an art festival. We were vacationing in Whitefish, Montana, and Huckleberry Days was going on during our visit. This artisan stood out from the crowd, and I ended up buying several pieces from her.
Signe Ensign is the designer and maker of icandi jewelry; beautiful necklaces, bracelets and earrings made from interesting colored gemstones in fresh textures and combinations. This is more fine jewelry than pure craft jewelry in that all the stones she uses are semi-precious natural gemstones (with some freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals thrown in) and the clasps and components are substantial and made of sterling silver. I found myself mesmerized by the gemstones themselves, since they were interesting colors, shapes and faceting. With most items priced under $100, it’s an affordable, distinctive gift.
I know there are a lot of designers working with beads out there, but her designs caught my eye (which is, no pun intended, a bit jaded), and were well-received by recipients. Signe’s service was great–she easily accommodated a special request we had for a different length, and had it ready for us the next day from her showroom at Persimmon Gallery in nearby Bigfork, MT. It’s great to deal with nice people living their dream.
Any other jewelry designers and craftspeople out there that I should know about? What are your favorite sources or marketplaces? I would love to hear from you, please comment!