When I first became interested in making my own jewelry, I was young. I don't know what age, but I do remember making stretchy beaded bracelets. I know I was relatively young because I remember that I kept my beads in a little pink unicorn duffel-bag. (I collected unicorns, like all the little girls I knew!)
My mom was a crafter, making all kinds of magnets and other crafts throughout my childhood. She did a lot of craft shows. How she did it with 2 rambunctious kids in tow, I have no idea. Now we talk about the stress that she had - that I now have - about weather, making money, etc.
I actually went into another creative outlet for quite awhile as a young adult: Music. I was very into music in high school and even started college (for a few years) as a music major. I started on clarinet and eventually saxophone. I also played piano, a skill which I would like to relearn.
Somewhere along my way after settling in Lancaster, I started making bath and body products. I made them for Christmas gifts and then started selling them on eBay. (This was before Etsy.) That's where my name originated. Bellezza means beauty. The B.B. stood for Bath, Body. (Bath. Body. Beauty)
I was looking around on eBay one day and found some beautiful, long, beaded necklaces and around the same time I found my unicorn bag of beads. I started making jewelry again. Then I discovered all the gorgeous beads that were available and I was completely hooked. This was several years ago now, and I haven't stopped making jewelry since.
Here are a couple photos of some of my pieces when I first started again. I cannot believe with the quality (or lack thereof) of the photos that I sold anything at all.....(thank you to all of my faithful supporters over the years!!)
Looking at this photo of the blue necklace actually makes me want to make myself a super-long beaded necklace for the summer, even though the photo stinks!
Then I started to learn new techniques and was able to start making different jewelry. I learned how to wire-wrap, which led to my beaded charm bracelets.
(Again, the photo is ridiculous!) I was so excited when this bracelet sold. I adored this bracelet and it was the most expensive piece I had sold at the time.
My father and brother are very mechanically inclined. I don't think there is a thing that my father cannot fix. So, there have always been different tools, parts and equipment around my house growing up. I think that may have influenced my hardware jewelry. I think that washers in particular are really just asking to be taken from their mundane life stuck in a drawer and made into jewelry! (I'll have a whole post about this later this month.)
This bracelet, believe it or not, was the beginning of my hardware jewelry. I haven't made another like it, but I am inspired to do so now.
And, believe it not, this bracelet was my first trip to the front page on Etsy. I do think that while the bracelet is cool, this photo would never make it to the front page now! How things change in a few years!
Once I started making the charm bracelets, I found these cool charms that you could put photos in, and I started making my first altered charm bracelets and necklaces
This was only a very short step leading to making upcycled scrabble tile and domino pendants.
I have always been very interested in the environment, recycling and reusing, so it only made sense for me to start making upcycled jewelry, which is the main focus of my jewelry business now.
(Washer bracelet. A simpler version of my earlier bracelet.)
Now I feel much more comfortable with my photography skills and I even have a line of photography scrabble tile pendants made with my own original photography!
As you can see, my jewelry has changed over the years. I am sure that it will continue to change and grow, too.