The Art of Jewelry Making: Tradition, Heritage, Handmade
Finding well made objects crafted with care has become a rarity for the average consumer. I often become overwhelmed at the vast offerings available at any given time. So many brands. So many choices. So much stuff. Companies constantly racing to offer us something new, much to the expense of quality, economics, and to our planet.
One reason that I’ve chosen to make Loren Hope here in the USA is because I cherish the art of skilled craft. I’m a romantic at heart and I’m mesmerized by processes and their history. The way a toolmaker works steel to create tool and die for stamping out brass. The way a German artisan melts and works glass rods into molds at a burning furnace to create little sparkly stones. Watching a model maker at his bench filing away at a tiny sculpture that will eventually turn into a beautiful piece of jewelry. Each of these processes requires getting your hands dirty. It requires a skill that has to be refined over time. One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job is meeting and interacting with these craftsmen, hearing their stories, and witnessing their work first hand. You can’t manifest something physical, tangible, without being willing to get your hands dirty.
I grew up using my hands, as did my parents, and grandparents. I have memories of shelling peas outside with my Grandfather on a balmy summer afternoon. My Grandmother crocheting one of her many afghans sitting in her rocking chair. My Father milling wood for flooring in the house he built where my brother and I grew up. To me, our hands are one of the most powerful things we posses. With them we complete our daily tasks, often overlooking them and taking them for granted.
Our hands tell a story, and they’re a part of the broader narrative that makes up each piece of Loren Hope jewelry. I scour the globe looking for pieces and parts to work with that make our jewelry special.
The settings we use to hold our stones are stamped out on American-made machines that date back 60 years. The man who maintains the machines is 83. Many of our stones are German, made for us and pressed with pre-war tools. Others are vintage, found in an old musty brown box from 50 years ago, living on a shelf, waiting for the moment to be found and brought back to life. These components, all with their own history, come together to create our jewelry. In our studio, we link rings, cut chains, file metal, and hand-set stones one at a time into each piece. It’s these stories that live in every design that we create.
Honoring the local heritage and rich history of the jewelry industry in Rhode Island fills my heart, and I get so much joy watching my pieces come to life. At Loren Hope, we believe national pride is doing your part to keep our communities thriving, and we like to think we’re doing just that—one hand-laid jewel at a time. Thank you for continuing to support our efforts in keeping the RI jewelry industry alive and thriving.