Local Jewelry Designers Inspired By Home
By Shanna Perkins • Photos Submitted By Artist
Designer: Rozalyn Galyean
The Beginning: I started creating art at a very young age. In high school, when I couldn’t find anything I liked at the mall, I dove into jewelry making. Before long, all of my friends were wearing my beaded necklaces. That was over 20 years ago. It has taken me that long to find my niche – recycling drum cymbals into accessories.
The Inspiration: What has always inspired me is music. I’m a huge fan of all genres. There is nothing like witnessing live music. To me, it’s such an intimately public act of creation. Both of my parents are musicians, so it’s always been a constant in my life. It couldn’t be more perfect that I have found a way to combine my love for art and music by creating Secondline Jewels.
Louisiana Love: I am very proud to have been born and raised in Louisiana, which is why I named my business Secondline Jewels. It’s so much fun to be able to integrate different parts of our culture into my work. I have a Cajun line of accessories on my website. I also have a video of my first experience participating in a New Orleans Second Line. It brings me such joy to share this unique place with the world.
Shop: My line is available locally at KiKi and Genterie Supply Co. and at my website secondlinejewels.com.
Designer: Katherine Prejean
Home: I was born in Lake Charles, but have since moved to the Youngsville area.
The Beginning: I have been attempting some sort of art or craft since I was a very young girl. I started creating jewelry as a hobby 10 years ago. I began with simple beading designs. Finding my niche, I then went on to develop my skills with metals. In 2007, I attended a jewelry class that used fine silver metal clay. It was an instant love affair.
The Inspiration: I create jewelry that is engaging, inviting, well crafted and beautiful. My hope is that people will enjoy wearing my pieces and that my jewelry will be something that becomes part of their personality. I truly love creating custom orders for my customers. I am currently exploring the combination of relatively new medium called metal clay with traditional metals to create beautiful jewelry.
Louisiana Love: Being born and raised in Cajun Country, I can’t help but to be inspired by our entire culture. There is a joy found in our culture that you can just feel. I always work to achieve that feeling in my pieces.
Shop: I do local art shows and festivals in the spring and fall. You can also find my pieces at Hermann-Grima+Gallier Historic House Exchange Shop in New Orleans, Sans Souci Fine Crafts Gallery in Lafayette, Louisiana Marketshops at the 115 in Breaux Bridge and the Lafayette Art Association & Gallery in Lafayette. Visit kpdesigns.weebly.com for more information.
Laura Teague Jewelry
Designer: Laura Teague
Home: I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas
The Beginning: I was exposed to art at home from an early age. Once my two sons were older, I rediscovered my love of jewelry design and decided to seriously pursue it. Eventually, I discovered the world of precious metal and wire jewelry. I fell in love with the materials because of the endless design possibilities.
The Inspiration: I am inspired by ancient chain mail designs used during the Middle Ages. I love the beauty and strength of those designs. I also find inspiration in my childhood memories and the culture of South Louisiana.
The Process: I consider myself an artisan jeweler. I Design and personally make each piece of jewelry in my Baton Rouge studio using traditional metal-smith techniques and tools. No mass productions or other people are involved in either the design or the creation of the jewelry
Shop: My jewelry is available on my website LauraTeague.com, in my Etsy shop etsy.com/shop/LauraTeagueJewelry. My work is sold in several galleries in Louisiana, including the LSU Museum of Art Store, Sans Souci Fine Craft Gallery in Lafayette and the Louisiana Marketshops at the 115 in Breaux Bridge.
Pieces Of My Life
Designer: Michele Marks
Home: I am originally from Jeanerette and now reside in New Iberia.
The Beginning: I started at a young age making every type of craft project that came into popularity. My grandmother, Lucille Brown, sparked this interest in me. I spent hours and hours at her house doing crafts.
The Inspiration: My jewelry cannot be described as just one single medium or style. The Pieces of My Life vary by the vast emotions and experiences of being a woman in South Louisiana.
The Process: My wire wrapped pieces are made with gold, sterling, nickel, brass, bronze and copper wire. I wrap each piece by hand using pliers. They are accented with beads. Most of my pieces are strung on handmade chains designed to match the center pendant. Some of my pendants are made by hand forging a piece of copper and bezel setting a stone center.
Shop: My work is available at Sans Souci Gallery in downtown Lafayette, at the Art Fairs in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. I will also be participating in Festival Acadien.
Designer: Adrian Guidry
Home: I was born in New Orleans, but raised in Lafayette.
In A Name: The word “Adorn” means “to make beautiful.” And that’s what we do.
The Beginning: I have a background in art and I studied at the Gemological Institute of America. I’ve been developing my techniques for over 15 years.
The Inspiration: I have lived all over the world. All of my pieces are made with natural elements including metal, stones and artisan glass. Most of my designs are inspired by my travels throughout the country and around the world.
The Process: In my work, I combine precious metal clay with natural elements to create jewelry pieces that are contrasting – hard and soft, dark and light, organic and metal. I am compelled to work with my hands and directly with my materials. My goal is to create pieces that are functional and practical.
Shop: I am a regular at the Lafayette Farmers and Artisan Market at the Horse Farm on Saturday mornings. I’m a member of the Louisiana Craft’s Guild. I will be at Festivals Acadiens in October. My Adorn store is located on Westmark Boulevard in Lafayette and online at adornforwomen.com.
Designer: Maxie Durel-Crain
Home: I am from Lafayette, born and raised.
The Beginning: I began creating jewelry in the 80s. In 2000, I took a pottery class at UL and began to develop a more personalized style. I began to make my beads and medallions out of pottery that I handcrafted. I have always like earthy jewelry, so this style fits my personal taste and identity.
The Inspiration: Much of my inspiration comes from every day life. I am now creating pieces using flowers from special occasions so that people can have a daily memento of that occasion. Whether the flowers are from a wedding, an anniversary or a funeral, I am able to create something special to preserve that memory forever. Presently, my husband is studying to be a deacon in the Catholic Church. I make specialized deacon and deacon wife crosses. It’s fun!
Louisiana Love: My inspiration also comes from Cajun culture and history. The fleur de lis is a big part of our history and I like using it in my pieces. The fleur de lis is personal to me because it means “flower” or “iris.” Aside from it being part of my French heritage, Iris was my mom’s name. When I use the fleur de lis, I think of her.
Shop: My jewelry is currently available at Jewelie’s, The Silver Suitcase, Sans Souci Fine Crafts Gallery and the Cathedral Gift Shop. I am also a vendor at Festival International.
Jewel of Havana
Designer: Ana Maria Andricain
Home: After 20 years in New York City, my husband brought us back to Baton Rouge.
In A Name: My company is named in honor of my mother. She is originally from Havana, Cuba and was the inspiration for the first piece of jewelry I created. Cuba is known as the “Jewel of the Antilles.” My husband and I happened to be sitting in our favorite Cuban restaurant when I was trying to come up with a name.
The Beginning: I discovered my passion for creating jewelry while appearing in the Broadway Company performance of “Beauty and the Beast.” One of the girls in the dressing room was making a pair of earrings and I caught the bug. I had several breaks during the show and loved to run back to the dressing room and come up with new design ideas. I was commissioned to create jewelry for several Broadway opening nights and the Tony Awards. From there, my accidental business grew.
The Inspiration: I’m inspired by the texture in a leaf, the branches of a tree, a ripple in a puddle, a waterfall, an event in my life, the colors and textures in natural gemstones and, of course, my family and their Cuban heritage. I often think about how a piece would look on my mom as I’m designing it.
Louisiana Love: Even when I lived in New York, I was drawn to the nature of my Louisiana childhood home. I think being surrounded by so much concrete for so long, my creative side needed a connection to nature. Most of my days begin with a walk in the garden gathering leaves and textures to use in my pieces.
Shop: My jewelry can be purchased through my website at JewelofHavana.com or at the festivals and art shows that I attend throughout the south.
Sun Lyon Studio
Designer: Jan Lyon Bennett
Home: I grew up in the Midwest. Then, I moved to St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. While living in the Caribbean, I met my husband who is originally from Louisiana. We currently live in Clinton, La.
In A Name: My maiden name is Lyon. I lived in the Caribbean for nearly 25 years, working under the beautiful Caribbean sun every day as a PADI scuba instruction and snorkel tour operator.
The Beginning: I was in love with the Caribbean Sea and I began my expression by bezeling sea glass that I had gathered off the beaches of St. Croix.
Louisiana Love: Having strong family ties to Louisiana, witnessing Hurricanes Katrina and Rita from St. Croix was an awakening experience for me. I made the move after Katrina to be part of the rebuilding process in any way that I could. As life experiences both challenge and inspire my spirit, I focus my designs on life’s ever changing tides.
The Process: I personally design my pieces beginning with a simple message or image that I want to share. I fabricate my jewelry starting with raw material, sterling sheet and silver wire. I used mixed mediums of 14 carat gold accents and whatever else seems to make the piece happen! I love using rivets to allow my pieces to have moving parts. Nearly every piece was designed and created to be worn as a token of personal energies, inspirations and experiences, which have shaped our lives.
Designer: Chris DesJardins
Home: I grew up in Lafayette, but spent a few early years in New Orleans and Lake Charles.
The Beginning: I began designing jewelry in the 90s when I was living in Boise, Idaho. I opened a bead store after falling in love with stones at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.
The Inspiration: After a few years of counting and organizing beads, I decided the fun part was designing the jewelry. I gained enough confidence in my design ability to launch a career as an artist. I spent 15 years in the art circuit in the Northwest.
Louisiana Love: In 2005, I moved back to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and began creating the Louisiana Lotus Pod to honor the ability of Louisianans to “bloom in any circumstance.” This beautiful flower is known in Cajun Country as “grains a voler” or “seeds that fly,” because of their ability to pop up nearly 20 feet away from the original flower. The seeds are eaten by those in the know.
Shop: My jewelry can be found at Sans Souci Gallery and on my website, desjardinsjewelry.com.
Ashley Blue Jewelers
Designer: Jennifer Guilbeaux
Home: I was born and raised in New Iberia.
The Beginning: I have been around the jewelry business my entire life. My parents opened their first store in 1969, so my siblings and I were all raised in the store. I had a playpen right next to the jewelers’ benches so I was watching and learning everything about jewelry from a very early age. My dad is a bench jeweler and has taught me so much over the years. I began designing and creating custom pieces as a teenager.
The Inspirations: I find inspiration for my designs in everything around me. Sometimes I’ll see a pretty leaf on a sidewalk and I’ll think how pretty it would be to turn it into a pendant. Or I’ll see an interesting pattern on a dress and I’ll try to incorporate that into a bracelet. Inspiration comes in so many different forms. Now being a new mom to a six-month-old, I’m seeing the world again through his eyes, and even that has made me more creative.
Shop: Our jewelry is available in our store at 1701 Chemin Metarie Parkway, Suite A, Youngsville.
Jane Ann Jarrell
Designer: Ann Jarrell Lee
Home: I’m a native of Alexandria
The Beginning: I first began designing jewelry when majoring in Fine Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Throughout the years, although my professional endeavors varied, my love for design and jewelry remained constant. Each Jane Ann Jarrell piece is made by hand in Louisiana by skilled alligator craftsmen and a bench jeweler.
The Branches: The business is currently made up of three distinct lines. “Preservation,” clients’ treasured pieces are integrated into “new” custom designed heirlooms. “Top Drawer,” original designs made with South Sea, cultured and freshwater pearls, as well as precious and semi-precious stones. “Cocodrie” jewelry and accessories highlighting premium Louisiana alligator skin.
Louisiana Love: As a native of Louisiana and an avid sportsman, I am aware of the global respect the Louisiana alligator has with European luxury-good designers. Realizing this exclusive and sustainable resource was in my own backyard, I became inspired to add this as a new medium. And thus, Jane Ann Jarrell Cocodrie was born.
Shop: Currently, pieces may be purchased by contacting Ann J. Lee through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (318) 202-9891.
Designer: Nell Bentz
The Beginning: It all began in December 2013 with a handmade cypress necklace that was gifted to me by my boyfriend. Soon after that, I was on an inspirational journey in the magical swamps and bayous of Louisiana. I began collecting swamp treasures and creating wearable art so that the people wearing them will feel like they’re part of the natural beauty of the wetlands.
In A Name: The name Haunted Cypress stems from my fascination with Louisiana folklore, swamp exploring and the haunting atmosphere that cypress trees create. I’m almost certain that if cypress trees could speak, they’d tell the most unearthly ghost stories.
Louisiana Love: The Manchac Swamp area is where I frequent most and where I collect most of the supplies for my jewelry. It happens to have one of my favorite Louisiana ghost stories. It’s the story of the Voodoo woman, Aunt Julia Brown. According to legend, she has a deep love for her community and used to rock on her front porch singing, “One day I’m going to die and I’m going to take all of you with me.” They say, on the day after her death, the tragic hurricane of 1915 claimed the lives of many of the early settlers of Manchac. Her cypress casket was found empty among the hurricane debris.
Shop: My jewelry is currently available on Etsy at HauntedCypress.Etsy.com.