A Jewelry Gal's Story
Whether you are a customer looking for jewelry with a memorable story behind it, an artist, or a business owner, getting to know the entrepreneur and jewelry designer Pamela Older might be of great interest. In this first post in a series of interviews to come, Pam talks about how she stumbled into making and designing jewelry and what inspires and motivates her.
Older started experimenting with jewelry design when she was an art student in Miami. “In need of a job I talked my way into a sales position at OM, a tiny handmade jewelry shop in Coconut Grove, Florida. I showed Mike Wiener the owner, a series of twisted paper clips made into god knows what! He must have thought I had chutzpah enough to be a great salesperson and I was hired on the spot.” Those were the days of hippiedom in Coconut Grove and Pam was living the bohemian dream.
Not long into her time at OM, Older began to design her own jewelry, “I started banging on silver and polishing links for the shop and soon I learned how to solder and polish. I also learned how to create in wax by observing a woman in the shop and soon had a few waxes of my own cast into rings. OM let me sell them and that was the beginning. I was so excited when my first ring sold- I couldn't imagine someone liking it enough to pay for it. The ring was a delicate vine of gold with two carved mother of pearl butterflies.I thought the butterflies were just beautiful and imagined them flying up and lighting on a finger.” After that experience Pam continued her pursuits selling to friends and at craft fairs, creating pieces using a rudimentary Dremel to polish and buff and a folding table in a basement as her bench.
Older’s biggest inspirations for creating are and have always been, colored gemstones. “The endless colors are inspiration enough! The combinations and textures you can achieve in jewelry making are so darn appealing it can be difficult to choose a direction to go in. Some designs are easy to see, but experimentation is part of the artistic processing. If there is one thing to be learned and passed on to people starting out, it's to experiment and not always know where you are going."
Customers are a great source of inspiration too‒ they come in with fantastic ideas and leave me to interpret them. I think my best work comes when I am collaborating with them on a custom ring or necklace, I am inspired by their thoughts and emotions and love connecting with them.Below is a woman who started as a customer, became my best sales rep and then my best friend. That's how it goes in this business!