Posts tagged jewelry blog
In The Beginning, or the Zuni Ring
Me at 11 or 12 years old.

Me at 11 or 12 years old.


I have always been a silver girl.

Gold just never did it for me.

I think sterling silver reminded me of the moon. And of the magic and mysteries concealed by the night. It was the feminine counterpart to the masculine sun.

Or maybe I just read too much Greek mythology as a kid.

A Navajo silver and turquoise ring that was given to me by my great aunt. It was most likely made in the 1930's or 40's.

A Navajo silver and turquoise ring that was given to me by my great aunt. It was most likely made in the 1930's or 40's.


One of my earliest jewelry memories is from when I was about 11 years old. We were living in the tiny town of Overgaard, Arizona. Everyone always sees of the arid desert of Pheonix and Tuscon when they imagine Arizona, but a large part of the state is mountainous with a high elevation plateau. 

Overgaard is situated up in the mountains on the Mogollon Rim, 144 miles from Phoenix. It sits in the Eastern part of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The population at the time was in the neighborhood of 400 people. There wasn’t much to the town. A couple of taverns and a corner store were about all Overgaard had to offer.

Because it was such a small community, we had a lot of freedom. My days were spent exploring the Ponderosa Pine forest, sailing down dirt roads.  My nights were often spent with my sleeping bag at the edge of the forest near our property. 

The elementary school was in the next community, Heber. It was a whole lot bigger with a whopping 2,000 or so people.

A Navajo concho brooch (circa 1930). It was my grandmother's. She gave it to my mother, who later gave it to me. 

A Navajo concho brooch (circa 1930). It was my grandmother's. She gave it to my mother, who later gave it to me. 


I can't remember what the occasion was. Maybe Christmas. Or maybe the end of the school year. Everyone in the class drew another student's name, and we were supposed to give them a gift at the school party. The boy I liked drew my name. I was terribly excited by the prospect of a gift from him.

He was Zuni Indian. I didn't really know him. I had never been to his house and never hung out with him after school. He was kind of shy and didn't say a whole lot. It was a typical early adolescent crush - infatuation without substance.

One of the things I didn't know about him was that he came from a family of silversmiths. Instead of buying me a gift, he made me a diminutive turquoise and silver ring. It was quite simple. A small round piece of aqua colored turquoise, framed in silver, and resting on a silver ring shank,

A ring similar to the one I was given. This one is made by Amy at  Mossy Creek Studio

A ring similar to the one I was given. This one is made by Amy at Mossy Creek Studio


I loved that ring. I was so amazed that he could make something like that. And that he would spend that much time making something for me. It was one of the first pieces of real jewelry I ever owned.

We got to be friends after, that boy and I.  We hung out a little over the summer and had a few adventures in the rural mountains. I have a vague picture of meandering paths and bicycles. Dirt roads and alfalfa fields. There was an old, abandoned travel trailer at the end of one of those dirt roads. It became the summertime hang out for all us kids.

Ponderosa Pine Forest. Photo from

Ponderosa Pine Forest. Photo from

And then one day we had an argument. I am sure it was something trivial. Very juvenile. He demanded that I give the ring back. It had been given as a gift. But that didn't matter. I threw the ring down, and it hit the dusty dirt track with a poof. That was the last time I saw the ring. If he didn't want me to have it, then I didn't want it either.

Dumb me.

Funny. I still think about that ring. But I can't even remember the boy's name. 


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New Pearl Pendants
Silver pendant 1


I spent all day in my studio. There is only a week left before the summer market season begins and I am working hard to get some new pieces finished for opening day.

 Today, I was working on sterling silver and pearl pendants.


Soldering Silver Pendants


Here is a sneak peek.




I hope to see you at the Steveston Farmers and Artisans Market on May 10th. Mention The Pickled Pearl for a special discount of 15% on all of my artisan jewelry.




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What's in a Name?

You might be wondering where on Earth I came up with a name like The Pickled Pearl. It doesn't make a lick of sense until you know a little about me.


First, I am a silversmith and jewelry artist. I am completely smitten with my craft. Maybe even a little unbalanced. Most people like to get out now and then, see some friends, maybe go for a walk. I actually need to schedule those things in. Otherwise I would never leave my studio.  

My Studio

I used to hate pearls. I mean loathe. I am a June baby and got stuck with the pearl as my birthstone. How BORING. My friends all had cool birthstones like aquamarine, ruby, and sapphire. People gave them gifts with their birthstones, and guess what? They actually liked the gifts. Not me. Can you imagine turning 16 and getting pearl earrings. The kind that everyone's grandma has. You know what I mean. The big, round, plain white pearl with a post sticking out the back. I don't know about you, but believe me, I was not a plain, white pearl kind of girl.   

Making ring shanks.

And now you are probably thinking I am absolutely crazy for naming a blog after an object of derision. Well, one day a few years ago I decided to experiment a little. I wanted to see if I could make pearls a little more modern. Give them an edge. And slowly, I fell in love the with the luminescent little orbs. Their satiny sheen. They are a tiny full moon, captured in a ring. Now, pearls are a common theme in my work. And I am not talking your grandma's staid string of pearls from 1948, but a young reinvented version of the pearl.

That is the pearl part. 

The pickle part is a bit of a triple entendre. 

In silversmithing, the pickle is a mild acid solution that removes oxidation that develops during the soldering. The pickle is something that I use everyday in my studio. 

Soldering a ring.

Then there is my kitchen. It is my second favourite room. I have been known to wake up and make beef bone broth just 'cause. I remember once, there was a whole summer that I was fascinated with jams. I would get up in the morning and say "I feel lazy today. I don't want to do anything. I think I'll make jam". A few hours later, a dozen new jars of jam would be cooling on the counter. I made so much jam that year, I had to give some to everyone I knew. I had no place to store it all. I have to admit that the only pickles I have ever made are pickled beets

I am a little crazy about cooking and canning in general. We even bought an outdoor propane burner so that I could get my pressure canner out of the house, keeping the indoor temperature somewhere south of molten. 

Attaching a post for the pearl.

And the last part of that pickle is me. I really love a glass of red wine, or two, with dinner. I always joke that when I am an old woman, I am going to live on pie, ice cream, and red wine. I know this as surely as I know anything. When the time comes that life is about quality, and no longer about quantity, I can just hear myself... 

"No. That's okay, honey. I'm not really that hungry tonight. I don't really feel like dinner. But I would LOVE a piece of that fresh blueberry pie. Maybe with a little ice cream?  And, oh look! It's six o'clock! Time for a glass of wine." 

And so at the end of it all, I will indeed be the pickled pearl.


Finished pearl solitaire ring.