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Beautiful and sustainable jewelry made with care in San Francisco. Edgy and unique styles to wear everytday. We have everything from tiny platinum stud earrings to Moissanite engagement rings made from recycled gold and fashion jewelry from solid sterling silver.

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Filtering by Category: About Me

Your Knuckles Are Not Too Big

Sharon Zimmerman

This and other myths about your fingers, coming right up.

Thigh-gap, cankles; too much volume in your hair, or not enough; boobs that are too big or too small; wrinkles; grey hairs - the list of things that we are supposed to feel bad about when it comes to our bodies is a lot. But your body is not a fault or a failing.

Jewelry Should Be Free of Body-shaming

I thought when I got into jewelry that it was more democratic and less judgmental than the rest of the fashion industry. And it should be. After all, many of us in the industry are making jewelry to order, so making a ring to fit you shouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, when it comes to making sample sizes, a lot of us (myself included) opted to make rings in sample sizes that were less than inclusive. And that’s why I continually hear customers talking about their knuckles and complaining that they are “so big!” Or that “rings never fit” them. It’s a bad cycle, and one that I can definitely break.

If You Want To Flip Someone Off, You’ll Need Your Knuckles

So let’s start by talking about what knuckles are. Knuckles are formed when the round knobby ends of your phalanges meet and are joined together by tendons and ligaments so that you can do useful things like bend your fingers to flip the bird to the driver who just cut you off in the crosswalk. Knuckles are useful is what I am saying.* And sometimes knuckles are wider than the base of your finger, mostly cuz of the shape of your bones. And this is OK.

Rings Can Be Made to Fit

Now onto “rings never fit”, too many jewelry designers (I am guilty of this too) use a sample size that is “average”. What, exactly, is average? Is it a 6 or a 7? I’ve seen some unsubstantiated articles suggest that rings ordered online are likely to be about a size 5. No, wait! A size 7! Or maybe it’s really a 6. These averages don’t take into account the customers who get frustrated at not being able to try on their size and simply never buy a ring. Or potential customers who think that rings never fit them and so they stop trying.

And how should a ring fit? The answer is that a ring should feel a little snug going over your knuckle and then just a little loose at the base of your finger. A ring should fit snugly over the knuckle so that it doesn’t fly off of your hand when you move about. Some people have more webbed fingers with very little difference between the knuckle and the base of the finger. This is also OK.

So What Now?

Rings can be made to fit. Almost all rings can. This year, I am working to bring larger sizes of rings (8 and up) to my shows to provide more people with the experience of being able to try on rings. It is a slow process, but one that I am committed to because trying on rings is hella fun.

I’ve changed my ring sizing options on this website. A few of my rings can’t be resized below a size 4 without disrupting the integrity of the design. For any of those rings, you’ll be able to pick your size off of a drop-down menu all the way up to a size 15. For any ring with greater flexibility in the design, you’ll be able to specify your ring size (whole, half or quarter sizes) whatever your ring size is. Need a 1? I can do that. Need a 15? I can do that too. I want all of you to be able to experience the joy of jewelry.

Rings for all, and fuck beauty standards.


*This is just for everyone out there dealing with arthritis in your hands, the only time that your knuckles might actually be a little larger than average. Yet even with arthritis, your knuckles are not too big. They are inflamed and need care, and a couple of sizing beads on the inside of your ring. We can make that happen.

3 Ways I Was Bad at Being a Jewelry Designer

Sharon Zimmerman

I was bad at being a jewelry designer...in the beginning.

Very, very bad. I had cobbled together a line of jewelry from some half-formed ideas in my head, took some photos in a small photo tent with my point-and-shoot digital camera, released them in an Etsy shop and dusted off my hands like I had accomplished something. This isn’t to diminish what I did at them time. At the time it was huge. Crazy, in fact. Looking back now though, I made some amazing errors. Ones I didn’t even know I was making. Everyone makes mistakes in their first few years of business, and ideally, we can all learn from those mistakes. I want to share mine with you, so that maybe you can learn what not to do.

So here it is, Three ways I fucked up in the first two years of my business and what I wish I had done better:

1 - I Was Bad at Photography

Original Grainy Image of my infiity ring - RI-008-PG-rose-gold-sterling-silver-infinity-wedding-ring-commitment-ring.jpg

I had a little Canon Point and shoot (I still do!), with a Digital Macro Setting. I sort-of-kind-of-partially-a-little-bit-almost knew the basics of how to use it. I mean, Point and Shoot - it’s right there in the name, right? But I didn’t know any other details - white balance? Uh, I was shooting on a white background (sometimes), so that should be enough, right? Focus? Got it. Sizing, resolution. Um, OK no I have no idea what I am doing, but I’ve got moxie so let’s wing it! So long as the images were in focus I was “doing it right”.

And here’s where that moxie took me. Images technically in focus, but the wrong size for a lot of website resolutions, plus they were grainy, dull, and lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. After a couple of years of DIY-ing my jewelry photography, I finally asked for help from my jewelry community, sought advice and asked questions like, “hey what does this button on my camera do and do I need it?” I also found resources to crop out my jewelry and put it onto a white background, and retaught myself a few tricks in Photoshop. The point is, I wasn’t stuck where I was at. I could ask for help, seek advice and make it all better.

Here we have a ring that is still a classic in the collection, even if I have better images of it now. The infinity ring was one of the first pieces that kicked off my official jewelry line launch. Couples still buy it as their wedding band, other customers love it for the symbolism of the infinity. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten even better at making this ring in the last 8 years. I am definitely better at photographing it.

2 - I Was Not a Good Designer When I Started

I was a designer! Of course I was a designer. I was designing all the time - always jotting down my ideas in a sketchbook, coming up with new ideas and different shapes and textures. The thing is, transferring ideas from paper and brain into metal and gems doesn’t always go the way you think it will. Ideas can look great in your head, even better in a sketch and still turn out all wrong when you execute it in metal.

For instance, these hoops. I loved the design (still do!), it made for a great idea and pretty sketches, but when I made it in oxidized silver, the front of the earring was too heavy, so the hoop kept falling out of the earlobe. Back to the drawing board with this one, and I think these wound up in a sample sale bin years later. Nowadays I know to account for things like weight and balance, and how to think of how a piece will interact with a real live human - fewer sharp and pointy edges to catch on your sweater, knowing how to counterweight a heavy design to make it wearable. Also how to photograph it better (again with the photography). One of my earlier ideas was to make my photography distinguishable from other photography. And, you know what? Achievement unlocked… just not in a good way. I didn’t iron that fabric, and thought that a dull green background combined with even duller lighting would make for a distinctive image. The point is, with more time and more experience I learned to adapt to the design and styling process, to make changes when the finished product wasn’t exactly right, and I got better with a lot of practice and experience. I also asked for feedback, did a ton of research about product photography and read up on what website photography looked best. I got better with time.

3 - Not asking for help

I could have asked any number of people for tips on photography, or read more articles, or taken more design classes or a photography class, but I bought into the lie that I was supposed to do it all myself as an entrepreneur. In our common culture, going it alone is supposed to define entrepreneurship. But I think that this is false. Sure there are times that you should be listening solely to your inner voice - I still take 100% ownership of the design process - but when it comes to other skills, seeking help is vital. Ask your community, hire a human who knows more, take a class, read a book. Here is one example of when I should have asked for help, I am solidly not a graphic designer. Here is a photo of my first business card submitted as defense exhibit A:

What I thought I was supposed to do was design a business card and logo on my own. What I should have done was hire someone else, or at least ask for feedback on the finished cards before printing a whole lot of them. Brown and green colorway to seem “environmental”? Trying to sound so “professional”, but instead coming across as formal and wooden? I could have used some mega feedback on these before handing them out to everyone I knew. Eventually I hired a graphic designer to make my logo and work with me on color schemes and a business name that was a little more catchy. I also asked my business support group for feedback through the process. And I learned to be open to changing all of it in the future.

What Is the Lesson?

These photos shown here are grainy, the jewelry is not designed for everyday wear, the center of gravity on those hoops was not well thought out, and the photo styling is, um, less than dynamic and professional, and I was clearly not a meant for graphic design. But these mistakes and missteps are mine. All mine. The jewelry was designed and made by me, the photos were taken by me, the images were styled by me. I take all the responsibility and own all of the mistakes because each mistake taught me a valuable lesson. And I learned a lot from each and every mistake. I learned to ask for help when I needed it, I learned to take classes when I needed a deeper dive on a subject, I learned to not be so hard on myself when I did screw up. Learning these lessons was painful, but necessary and constantly learning means that I got better.

I know it seems like I have always been a fully-formed jewelry maker, but I had to learn too. Part of the reason why I keep these images on hand, besides a being a good reminder about the pitfalls of hubris and ego, is that they stand as a record of where my work was then vs. where it is now. I keep these images of my old work and in their original formats, with all of their mistakes to show that, like anyone, I am capable of change.

*Have you ever looked back and wanted to change your old work? Leave your lessons in the comments below*

Recycled Gold - Why this is a basic that all of your jewelers can and should use

Sharon Zimmerman

Drawing down wire in the studio - Liz Hafalia for the SF Chronicle.jpg

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This was the mantra of my generation of environmentally conscientious people in the 90s. One of the things I love the most about jewelry (aside from the fact that I get to make my own accessories and share them with everyone) is that it is easy to reuse and recycle almost every element of what we do. Have a ring you aren’t using? Melt it down and make another. Have a diamond in a setting that you don’t care for? Cut it out and remake it. Want to reduce your consumption? Easy, just buy better jewelry. You could buy only one new piece a year and pull together a beautiful and meaningful capsule collection.

That said, recycled gold should be the baseline standard for sustainable jewelry. Jewelers throughout the ages have collected scraps and bits of gold from their projects and have recycled them back into future projects with minimal environmental impact. I do this myself at the bench - melting down tiny bits and re-purposing them into new jewelry to create new eco-friendly pieces.

The above video shows the melting of gold scrap to roll out for a new piece of jewelry


Gold and silver are precious natural resources. Around the world gold is mined using industrial techniques, often times creating pollution, adding mercury to the water and displacing indigenous people. Much of today’s gold mining is done not just for jewelers, but for electronics as well, which has created a higher demand. The good news is that gold is 100% recyclable and re-usable, and Fair Mined metals are becoming easier to acquire. Artisanal gold mining is becoming more common and many of us see partnerships with specific mines as the way forward for the industry. Over the next year, I hope to offer Fair Mined metals as an option for many of my pieces, but until then, I continue to use only recycled gold.

Turning Six and Giving Back

Sharon Zimmerman

Lots of styles have come and gone, but these have stayed constant

Lots of styles have come and gone, but these have stayed constant

My business turned Six in March! This business has been a roller coaster these last six years and I wouldn't have it any other way. Along the way, I've learned that staying true to my values is as important as making huge sales - one without the other feels so hollow. So it was an easy decision for me to combine the sixth anniversary month with Women's History Month and give back to a cause that supports women - The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. NCADV supports women (and men) leaving violent homes by providing resources, information and safety as well as a help line that you can call to get support. Thanks to my amazing customers, this business of mine was able to donate more than $200 to this cause. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

Our Feature in the San Francisco Chronicle

Sharon Zimmerman

It's been a roller coaster year, but we were thrilled with our recent feature in the San Francisco Chronicle. It shows mein action - drawing down wire to make a nose ring, soldering a wedding ring, and basically showing you all the work and effort and love that go into each and every piece of sustainable jewelry we make here in our San Francisco Studio.

Sharon Zimmerman draws down wire for a  nose ring  in her San Francisco studio

Sharon Zimmerman draws down wire for a nose ring in her San Francisco studio

Soldering a  wedding ring  in 14 karat gold. Image by Liz Hafalia

Soldering a wedding ring in 14 karat gold. Image by Liz Hafalia

Article by Carolyn Said, photos by Liz Hafalia.

Read all about it here.

The Good Karma Sale, Giving Back and a Coupon Code for you

Sharon Zimmerman

After the year that we've had, I am determined to be more committed than ever to giving back to organizations that are near and dear to my heart. My commitment to sustainability does not end with jewelry - it extends to my sense of civic responsibility too. I'm starting with this Holiday Season by participating in the Good Karma Sale. November 21st-30th, 10% of all sales made through the website and at the SF Etsy Holiday Emporium will be donated to the International Rescue Committee, an organization co-founded by Albert Einstein that is dedicated to assisting and resettling refugees escaping from violence around the world. Helping refugees takes on many different forms and includes providing water, food, and shelter and ensuring that refugees are safe and cared for. Follow the hashtag #goodkarmaisthenewblackfriday to see all of the vendors participating in the Good Karma Sale!

Throughout December, 5% of all sales made through our website and at shows will be donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. NCADV works to create a culture where domestic violence is not tolerated; and where society empowers victims and survivors, and holds abusers accountable. 

And lastly, as promised, is your coupon code. Take 15% off any order on my website November 21-28 with coupon code Karma2016 *. This is my thank you for your support, enthusiasm and for helping to give back this holiday season. Enjoy, and I hope to see you soon.

Lastly, sign up for our mailing list to enter to win a pair of sterling silver spear huggies! The winner will be announced on November 28th.

 

*This code is good through Midnight Pacific Time on November 28th, 2016.

Transitioning Jewelry - when to remake antique and unused jewelry

Sharon Zimmerman

What can you do with unused jewelry?

Sparkle-Ball-ring-recycled-diamonds-14-karat-gold

Jewelry is powerful. Serving as a reminder of loved ones, connecting us to our past and grounding us in the present. But sometimes jewelry no longer serves us or it no longer serves it’s original purpose. Loss, divorce, inheritance, unwanted gifts - there can be a lot of reasons why you may no longer want tor fine and precious jewelry - sometimes jewelry reminds you of a painful moment or transition in life. Maybe you inherited jewelry from a loved one that isn’t to your taste; maybe your jewelry just needs a different look. If so, then it’s time for an update. The diamonds in these rings once symbolized a different life, but have now been refreshed, updated, made new. Rings (and earrings) that symbolize a change and a transition through to a new time in life. A jump start, a renewal; hit the reset button.

In the rough studs with recycled diamonds in rose gold

If your jewelry is made from gold or platinum, diamonds and/or sapphires, the good news is that almost all of these materials can be reused and remade into new jewelry. Metal can be melted down or reshaped, stones without major flaws can be put into new setting, and sometimes can even be re-polished or re-cut to look brand new. The jewelry shown here was all rea fashioned from a single wedding set - the small stones were pulled from an unused diamond band and re-purposed into a pair of earrings and a sparkle ball of a ring. The center stone from her engagement ring was set into a lowered bezel setting instead of the impractical tall prong setting that she had once loved. We worked together to customize some of my existing styles to use her stones, and then we turned the leftover metal from her rings in for cash credit. The results? She now has two rings that she can were everyday, and a pair of studs that can go with anything. This is a way better cost-per-wear for her jewelry, and her pieces are no longer gathering dust in a drawer.

Do you have questions about transforming your own jewelry into one of my designs? Leave a comment or get in touch directly.

recycled diamond 18 karat gold setting oxidized silver ring

How I Wear It - the Spear Huggies with Tiny Studs

Sharon Zimmerman

I'll admit it - I got into jewelry-making largely for my own self-interest. I wanted to have beautiful pieces of jewelry to wear and the best way to get something that's exactly what I want is to make it myself. So I started making jewelry. A lot. Obsessively. All the damn time.

Time passed, more jewelry got made and I got more curious about where my metals came from. I got more interested in creating a jewelry line that uses sustainable materials and incorporated more designs and more creative and wild visions. Each year, I make more and more jewelry that I love down to its core. It becomes pretty hard to figure out which pieces to put on each day when I feel like I have an embarrassment of riches. So much to love...so little ear space.

I mean, of COURSE - making more jewelry means that I need to be wearing more jewelry. So a couple of years ago I added two new piercings to my left ear to make room for more studs and earrings.*

I love how tiny studs accent the ear like a sprinkle of stardust. All the more so when those studs are made in rose gold. (14 karat rose gold is my not-so-secret favorite metal to wear). Though if yellow gold or platinum are your jam, by all means go to town and create your own ear party!

Sure, you can wear our spear huggies on their own, without any other earrings and they will still look great alone, but this was far too fun of a look for me to pass up and adding in all of these studs feels like I’ve armored up for the day.

Pictured on my ear from left to right, all of these are shown in rose gold, and available in yellow gold, platinum (except for the spear huggies) or sterling silver:

Tiny Stick Stud Earrings
Spear Huggies
In the Rough Diamond Studs
Tiny Pebble Studs

We’d love to hear from you and see how you arrange your ear party! Feel free to post a comment or reach out to us by email. We’ll post your image to our Instagram feed and tag you too!

How do you like to wear your tiny studs and huggies?

*I had mine pierced by Perry at Rose Gold in the Haight.