Time Flies When You're Having Fun - White Sage & Sapphire Celebrates Five Years
“When I look back on my life it’s not that I don’t want to see things exactly as they happened, it’s just that I prefer to remember them in an artistic way.”
When I launched White Sage & Sapphire in August of 2017 never once did I consider the growth I would experience in the coming years. I’m grateful beyond words for the support I’ve received and so very thankful for the community that has developed along the way. In my Introductory Blog Post I discussed the beginnings of White Sage & Sapphire, and as I prepare to celebrate five years of business I’m looking back on the development of my aesthetics and some of my favorite designs I’ve sent out into the world.
In 2017 I had already been making jewelry as a hobby for three years, and while my small business was nothing more than a fledgling at the time, I’d like to think she already had a small form of an identity. At this time most of my pieces were one of a kind and I was still using silver plated components and findings. My first display was a haphazard grouping of beaded pieces priced with handwritten tags on some considerably DIY fixtures. While a lot of these early display components such as the natural wood displays and rotating trees are still used today, I’d be lying if I said I missed lugging those pallet board displays around.
Left to Right: Jade & Hammered Copper Earrings, First Vendor Show (Pour The Love, Four Seasons Brewing), Seed Bead Wrap Stretch Bracelet, Peridot Multi-Stand Bracelet, Multi Gemstone Necklace, Peridot & Freshwater Pearl Necklace
Looking back on 2018 I began to see the “true start” of what White Sage & Sapphire has become today. I upgraded from silver plated metals to sterling silver, traded my pallet board displays in for T-bar style displays, and began experimenting with 14K Gold Fill. I also made my first few gemstone rings, albeit at my kitchen table with nothing more than shears, sandpaper, and some needle files (I didn’t even have a jewelers saw at this point!). 2018 also saw some designs that would later develop and evolve into our Signature Collection.
Left to Right: First WS&S Ring (Blue Lace Agate & Sterling), 2018 Booth Setup (Ligonier Country Market), First WS&S Ring (Alternate View), Signature Earring Prototype in Emerald & Sterling, Sterling Rings (Moss Agate, Labradorite, Dendritic Limestone, Rutile Quartz), Signature Necklace Prototype in Emerald & Sterling
In 2019 I focused most of my energy on refining my silversmithing techniques. I experimented more with precious metal clay (PMC), started “batching” rings assembly line style, and crafted my first set of stacking rings. My booth also saw another upgrade with the additions of both curtains and sidewalls to provide a more boutique feel to the shopping experience. Within the same year, I also participated in my first juried 3-day show - one of the first turning points in my journey. I could see the potential for a self-sustained career in the arts and the gears really started to turn.
Left to Right: Stacking Rings in Labradorite & Sterling, Hinged Sterling Earrings with Labradorite Accents, Turquoise Earrings with PMC Succulent Accents, Signature Earrings in Rainbow Moonstone & 14K Gold Fill, First Juried 3-Day Show (Fort Ligonier Days 2019), Signature Necklace in Rainbow Moonstone & 14K Gold Fill
If we’re being honest here, the first half of 2020 was pretty shit, but I fully believe those few months spent alone with my own thoughts led me to where I am today. In August of 2020 I left my job in food service to work as an intern bench jeweler for Beeghly & Company Jewelers. I originally applied for a sales position, but instead was given the incredible opportunity to work alongside a handful of talented jewelers based on nothing more than a few photos of my work. This experience completely changed everything and gave me a sense of confidence I hadn’t felt before. While I was only employed for a short 10 months, the knowledge I gained was invaluable to my evolution as an artist and would dramatically change my personal aesthetics over time. As 2020 began to come to a close, I started to lay the framework for what would become my 2021 rebranding & relaunch.
Left to Right: Sterling Silver Cross Earring with Ruby Accents, On the Job, Original Design for Beeghly & Co. (Rainbow Moonstone with Diamond Accents, 14K Yellow Gold), Sapphire Stacker Prototype, White Opal Burst Ring Prototype, Sapphire Pendant Prototype
In early 2021 I left Beeghly & Co, returned to food service, and relaunched in May with a new logo, upgraded packaging, and my own website. I phased out nearly all of my one of a kind pieces and began producing work in collections. Designs became visually lighter with an emphasis on layering, and I began to experiment with texture and movement. I introduced the Herkimer Diamond and Layering Collections, as well as the Sapphire Stackers, which continue to be one of my best sellers! I also completely redesigned the booth layout with custom built wood displays & heavy-duty T-bars. For me, this was the year I began to take myself seriously as an artist, and everything started to “click” shortly thereafter.
Left to Right: Layering Collection in Garnet & 14K Gold Fill, Updated Packaging, Signature Collection in Garnet & 14K Gold Fill, Sapphire Stackers, Layering Collection & Signature Collection in Sapphire & 14K Gold Fill, Sapphire Burst Rings
Carrying the momentum I felt from the previous year, I started 2022 with two goals in mind:
1.) Expand White Sage & Sapphire’s reach into the Greater Pittsburgh Area.
2.) Quit my full-time food service job.
January through April I spent every waking moment I could in the studio, working away to make those goals a reality. I booked myself for over 45 in person events for the summer and fall months, and I made sure I had a head start on my inventory. I designed and launched two new collections including the Evil Eye & Bloom Ring Collections, and fully restocked my Sapphire Stackers, Burst Rings, & Pendants with over 40 new pieces. By the time May rolled around, I felt confident enough to take the leap and “tentatively” quit my job. Though I still fill in one or two days a week if needed, I mostly work for myself since. I’ve had some incredible experiences this summer, from working my first few Night Markets (Squirrel Hill Night Market, Greensburg Night Market, Market Square Night Market) to driving across the state for a show (York Flea) to even having a venue offer the literal STAGE as my booth space (Queer Craft Market.) I feel like I’m finally stepping into my own as a creator as my aesthetics continue to be refined, with both the knowledge and confidence to back it up.
Left to Right: Sapphire Stackers (2022 Design), Bloom Rings, Evil Eye Collection in Turquoise & 14K Gold Fill, Booth Setup (Queer Craft Market), First Solid 14K Yellow Gold Design with 2.75 ct Maine Tourmaline, Booth Setup (York Flea)
I’d like to thank each and every one of you for being along on this journey with me, whether it be a purchase, a shared post, or a conversation in passing, I’m forever grateful.