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4 Women Jewelry Makers in the Hudson Valley

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Vertebrae Necklace, Marisa Lomonaco
  • Vertebrae Necklace, Marisa Lomonaco

Like most trades, goldsmithing and stonesetting—indeed fashion at large—were historically male-dominated. In the 20th Century, relentless innovators like Coco Chanel, Suzanne Belperron, and Jeanne Toussaint infiltrated the world of fashion and jewelry, paving the way for the influx of female designers, jewelers, and goldsmiths we see today.

The Hudson Valley has no shortage of talented craftspeople in every medium from woodworking to ceramics. A few weeks ago, we shared 4 local jewelers that should be on your radar (several of which were women). But with the holidays coming up and Valentine's Day not too far behind that, we thought you could always do with more inspiration. So here are four more jewelers who are putting the Hudson Valley on the map—all women, all wildly fresh and creative, all producing sparkling wonders right here.

Marisa Lomonaco

Beacon
Marissalomonaco.com
Facet Ring, Marisa Lomonaco
  • Facet Ring, Marisa Lomonaco
Originally from the Albany area, Lomonaco studied sculpture at Ithaca College. “The most exciting thing I did there was metal casting,” she says. A few weeks after graduation, she was offered a job at Tallix, an art foundry then in Beacon, where she received a highly technical education in methods of casting, processing, and finishing metal. “An artist brings in a design and we figure out how to make, it,” she says. “While working there, I started building my own line of jewelry. When you see how sculpture is created on that scale, it’s literally impossible to do without a group of people; you need a lot of hands.”

She preferred the intimate process of making her jewelry and "just being able to have your hands in every piece of the process and know that the thing that you created, you created all of it.” Mostly using lost-wax casting, Lomonaco makes replicas of found and natural objects (kelp, pieces of fish vertebrae, fish tails, and coral) as well as geometric shapes, such as a Brancusi-inspired bracelet. Lomonaco is also experimenting with cutting edge technology, doing direct casting from 3D-printed waxes.
Alligator Cuff Bracelet, Marisa Lomonaco
  • Alligator Cuff Bracelet, Marisa Lomonaco
“I like to think of my style as very clean and minimal but always with some unexpected twist to it, whether it’s form or texture. Patterns in nature inspire me, but my work can be really geometric, too.” Her work is sold in various Hudson Valley shops as well as in her Beacon studio, which is half workshop and half showcase. “You see the hammers and the tools and all the stuff that makes the thing you’re buying. Everyone tells me that connection and seeing the way things are made is the best part of working with me.”



Rebecca Peacock

45 North Front Street, Kingston
Rebeccapeacock.com
Pine Needle Ring, Rebecca Peacock
  • Pine Needle Ring, Rebecca Peacock
Peacock, who grew up in Woodstock, spent a decade in California before making her way back to her home ground. In a sense, things have come full circle. “My mother had a fine fragrance shop in Woodstock,” she says, “and now I have a store in Kingston.” That is where she sells her handmade work, which she describes as “minimal, simple, and straightforward”—fine metal and gemstone pieces such as a delicate pine-needle ring, ethereal wire hoops, and tiny bar studs with a line of micro-pave black diamonds (she sells a few other designers here, too).
Micro-pave black diamond earrings, Rebecca Peacock
  • Micro-pave black diamond earrings, Rebecca Peacock
Her work studio is in a 19th-Century farmhouse overlooking a babbling creek, with chickens, her namesake peacocks (of course), and angora rabbits hopping about the premises. “I feel lucky that I grew up here and these are the types of things I come back to,” she says. These days, with the multitude of wedding venues locally, she finds herself making lots of wedding bands and engagement rings. “My favorite part of doing this is the connections with people and the stories about love,” she says. “In my work I get to talk about love, which is rare. I get to hear about how everyone met and what brought them together.” Buy her work online or visit the storefront 45 North Front Street, Kingston.

Melissa Easton

Callicoon
Melissaeastonjewelry.com  
melissa_easton_55r-d_ring_skinnyrect_w_6diamonds_pv_01_1024x1024.jpg

Easton is an industrial designer (home goods, flatware, tableware, mostly) who used this professional know-how when starting to make jewelry. She carves the wax models at home in Callicoon, sends them to NYC to be cast, and then finishes them in her Sullivan County abode.
Originally a New Yorker living in bustling Chinatown, Easton was desperate to get out of the city some 20 years ago. She rented a car (despite not being much of a driver) and came upstate with her husband, looking to see some leaves. In short order, she and her husband found a rental in the Western Catskills, where they started spending summers. Twenty years ago, they bought it, moving up permanently. Peacock got into the bling biz because, as an inherently bad primper, she wanted pieces—a chunky ring, stud earrings—she’d wear every day and never take off. “I was driven to create something to fill the void,” she says. “That was the beginning of it.” 
Tiny Sundrop Flower Posts, Melissa Easton
  • Tiny Sundrop Flower Posts, Melissa Easton
Her signet-style rings (which she prefers to leave blank; though she works with an engraver), delicate bands, and tiny-flower post earrings aren’t “so flashy,” she says. “People don’t buy my jewelry impulsively. It doesn’t scream at you; it eats at you. People will come back again and again before finally deciding.”  That’s okay with this minimalist.
Square Hexagonal Ridged Ring, Melissa Easton
  • Square Hexagonal Ridged Ring, Melissa Easton
“I really don’t want people to keep buying jewelry and swapping out jewelry. I love seeing someone 90-years-old wearing a ring they clearly haven’t taken off. it’s like part of their hand.” Buy her work on her site, at MayerWasner boutique in Narrowsburg, and at Sawkill in Rhinebeck.

Estyn Hulbert

Ellenville
Estynhulbert.com
Bullet Cuff - 8 Row Toned & Bronze, Estyn Hulbert
  • Bullet Cuff - 8 Row Toned & Bronze, Estyn Hulbert
A fine arts major in college who studied graphic design and sculpture, Hulbert came from a long line of artists, including her grandfather, the illustrator behind the beloved original Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little drawings. After graduation, she apprenticed with her respected jewelry-designer aunt, Jessica Rose, in NYC (Rose created collections for Issey Miyake and Yves St. Laurent).

Hulbert was living in Brooklyn when she realized, “I was done with the city, like so many people,” she says. Not knowing “much about the community,” she fell in love with an 1840s farmhouse with a barn located in the Borscht Belt village of Ellenville and moved there full time. 
Long Chain & Pearl Drop Necklace - Peacock Pearl, Estyn Hulbert
  • Long Chain & Pearl Drop Necklace - Peacock Pearl, Estyn Hulbert

Hulbert makes her own designs, as well as those of her aunt’s, and sells them in shops around the U.S. and in England and France. Her designs specialize in pearls and colorful gemstones; there are earrings with curtains of gold chains in descending arrows and cuffs with gold “bullets” that move when touched. Hulbert loves the profusion of artists around her in Ulster County, and has a regular artists’ group (they work in fiber, paper, yarn) . “They’re kind of hidden in the woods making things,” she says, “so it can take us a little while to find each other.”

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