It’s amazing to know that everyone who wears my handmade jewelry knows they have a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art worthy of an exclusive, trend-setting society.
Before I created the Jamie Santellano – Jewelry Collection, my journey as a silversmith began when I took my first silversmithing workshop in 2006 in Ballinaclash, a quaint town in County Wicklow in southeast Ireland. In that workshop students learned some of the most valuable skills including various techniques in hammering, soldering, sawing, and filing, to name a few. After that workshop I knew I was in love with a dying art, and my life as I knew it was forever changed. Over the next ten years my skills continued to grow, as I had the opportunity to work alongside a local jewelry designer in Los Angeles.
Then one day I realized that there’s such a flooded market of mass-produced and cheaply made jewelry. I knew I had to create an exclusive collection which I call “wearable art.” In a “throw away society” where life is so fast-paced, I believe It’s important to keep the authenticity of Old World craftsmanship alive.
I was concerned that others would not see the value in a handmade jewelry collection, much less the art of it, and feared that the world of mass-production would leave my work forever hidden in the shadows.
But then I started sharing some of my jewelry on social media, and commissioned orders started pouring in. Conversations with potential clients who meticulously described details in my craftsmanship and their fondness for it gave me the confirmation I needed. It was clear to me that within our saturated society there lies an influential culture which believes it is important to have something exceptional.
I decided I would set out to create the most exclusive wearable art collection for the most imaginative and unconventional people in the world.
As it turns out, the journey in handmade jewelry was more difficult than I imagined. Challenges I faced were in the designing process, and in trying to figure out what my clients would expect in a handmade wearable art collection. How does a designer create an amazing line and preserve its authenticity, and yet meet the demands of the public?
I decided to focus on designing pieces and keeping things simple. Through the process of creating each piece, I saw that the more complicated I tried to make the designs, the more I was over-thinking the details, and I realized that simplicity was a key factor in making all of this work.
Although there were many challenges I faced along the way, I’d have to admit that the most difficult of all was trying to keep up with supply and demand. About 95% of my work is made by hand with raw materials, and I realized at some point I’d need an assistant should orders start to pour in at a rapid rate. One way to accomplish this is to become an instructor and train the next generation with the skills of my masters, so that they can carry on tradition.
Through it all, I released my first jewelry collection and the response has been amazing! The excitement that comes from my clients is infectious and inspires me to continue to design and create gorgeous pieces of wearable art.
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