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The Jewelry Maker from Dustin Cohen on Vimeo.
Before she became a small business owner, Susan Domelsmith made jewelry purely for herself. “Then my friends loved it, and so I made jewelry for them,” she says. “And then stores found out about it, and they started calling me, and then the press found out about it.” Thirteen years later, what was once her hobby is now a thriving, full-time business.
Domelsmith’s jewelry line, Dirty Librarian Chains, has graced the necks of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson, and you can spot her designs in the pages of Vogue and Elle. Her bold necklaces, bracelets, and earrings sparkle with vintage charm and a hint of edginess. That style, Susan feels, is influenced as much by her customers’ taste as it is her own. “It just kind of grew from me making something that I personally wanted to wear,” she says.
Her style isn’t the only thing that makes Domelsmith’s jewelry line unique: Her business is also committed to sustainability. “Most of my pieces are at least 90% vintage components,” Domelsmith explains. She spends a lot of time in thrift stores and flea markets, tracking down vintage metal chains and other materials to repurpose. Even the packaging is recycled: Rather than purchasing bubble wrap to pad her jewelry boxes, Domelsmith wraps each piece in vintage encyclopedia pages. “My mission is to try to make as little waste as possible,” Domelsmith says.
Watch the video to see how Domelsmith transforms found materials into one-of-a-kind jewelry, and get a glimpse inside her sustainable studio.