New York City. Jan. 10, 2020. It was 2007 when Sausalito, Calif.-based Wendy Stauffer of Fuss Jewelry unveiled her first attempts at jewelry design, on Etsy.com. The pieces were wire-wrapped flowers with briolettes, pretty enough to start garnering a fan base.
By 2010, Stauffer was watching YouTube videos and hitting up professionals on Facebook jewelry groups about metalsmithing to start incorporating fabricated styles into her mix. Now the onetime biology major, self-taught graphic designer, and longtime lover of crafts was ready to devote all her time to an elevated jewelry look that combined wire wrapping with metalsmithing.
“My style slowly evolved—It took five years for me to get there,” she explains. “It’s amazing how much people online will share to help you.”
Through the process of developing her look, fringed beads with two-tone metals became an obvious choice. Botanical motifs like leaves, a holdover from her early science education, also take shape among her largely freeform and organic creations.
“I like a bezel-set stone with romantic frilly edges of gemstones,” she adds. “I love 22k gold for bezels with wire-wrapped silver around it.”
New designs are always inspired by the gems. These include humble ones like dendritic agates, Montana moss agates, and boulder opal—“They provide such a spectrum of color!” Stauffer exclaims—in addition to vibrantly colored tourmaline or rutilated gems and more.
Sketching, too, facilitates ideas, as does exercise.
“I often get good ideas for designs when I’m running,” she says. “I try not to forget them by the time I get home!”
Meanwhile, components like large chains and clasps are made by Stauffer, while finer chains are purchased from manufacturing outlets with efficient skills to produce tiny links. All pieces are hand-fabricated, though wax carvings may be in her future.
“Casting interests me because the botanical designs I do would adapt well to carving in wax,” she says.
Her favorite metal is, for sure, Argentium silver. “It fuses without soldering in the initial steps,” she says. Accents in 18k gold are another common feature in her jewelry, as are sturdy 14k head pins for beaded accents.
Retail prices start at $500.
Find Stauffer’s work on her website fussjewelry.com as well as at select retailers like J. Mcveigh Jewelry in Stonington, Maine, and the retail component of the American Craft Council show in Baltimore.
Limited edition Kyanite Dangle earrings in Argentium silver with 22k and 14k gold with pearls and lapis are one inch long and a half an inch wide, $690; available online at Fuss Jewelry
Ring in oxidized silver and 22k gold with Aqua Wood Fossil Boulder opal with mixed gemstones, $855; available online at Fuss Jewelry
Flowers on a Trellis necklace in oxidized silver with 14k and 18k yellow gold with Boulder opal, pink sapphires and tourmalines, Spessartite garnet, amethyst, and tanzanite, $1,800; available online at Fuss Jewelry
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