I love animals and I love making animal jewelry.
It’s a little like the chicken and the egg story. Which came first, the artist or the animal lover? I believe both sprang forth about the same time.
Since childhood I’ve been fascinated with the life I saw around me; bugs, birds, cats, dogs, fish, turtles, it didn’t matter the species. I was lucky- I grew up in a time and place where kids spent their summers out doors chasing fireflies and exploring what grew and lived around them without fear.
And since childhood I’ve been exposed to good music and exceptional art. My mom was a working artist, and that was all I ever wanted to be myself. Lucky for me, this was encouraged.
Fast forward about 30 years to 1989, when I started The Magic Zoo Jewelry while living in The San Francisco Bay area. And my choice of subject matter was, of course, animals. Not just cats and dogs, but cows, fish, bugs and frogs. Of course.
The Magic Zoo has done a lot of evolving since then and now my jewelry is cast in fine sterling silver and precious 14k yellow and white gold.
My work covers a wide range, from Dog breed jewelry to some really unique horse jewelry. But of course I stay in touch with my roots, so there are lots of herp (reptile and amphibian), jewelry designs as well as some ocean animal jewelry, since I do live close to the water now.
Being an animal jewelry artist has given me a great excuse to meet lots of wonderful people in the animal care profession. I must know thousands of veterinarians and vet technicians by now. For years I’ve been supplying their clinics with my own custom designed name badges and veterinary symbol jewelry.
One of the things I find especially entertaining about making animal jewelry is learning all I can about the animal I’m creating. Maybe it helps me capture the personality better; but the reason I do it is because animals fascinate me! I’m sure I have more animal trivia tucked into my mind than 9/10s of the women alive.
Once my husband and I were driving from an art show late at night and to keep both of us awake, I made up questions about animals for hours. Things like “What is the average life span of a rat?” or “Name the 2 mammal species that lay eggs.” Ed was amazed how many details I’d retained from my years of research while working on my jewelry. I was a little surprised myself!
If I weren’t an animal jewelry artist I’d probably be digging around in Madagascar somewhere, or helping to create sanctuaries for orphaned elephants.
But being an artist has added a dimension to my life that has been important through thick and thin, tragedy and joy. And sometimes I think I’m able to make other people happy just by wearing a piece of jewelry that reminds them of a beloved pet or animal.
I’m pretty lucky. I get to create as an artist and meet some of the nicest people in the world- pet and animal lovers across the planet.