Santa Fe silversmith designs jewelry with edgy and elegant touch
In the woods of Santa Fe, Texas sits a refurbished school bus that has become the studio of a silversmith who designs striking, bold and exquisite jewelry. She doesn’t have a website or storefront, but through email she invites clients when she has new creations to showcase.
“I do showings about 10 to 12 times a year and host them at small venues or a private home,” said Georgiann Sanders, who has been designing jewelry for 12 years.
Her earlier years were spent repurposing vintage jewelry, but she switched to silversmithing two years ago.
“I took to it right away and had an eye for this, so I’m basically self-taught,” said Sanders, who took a few classes at Alvin Community College. “But the process was just in me, so I consider it a God-given talent that came later in life.”
Her necklaces and bracelets, embellished with gemstones, cut glass and sea glass, are eye-catching and glimmering. Pendants in various shapes and sizes dangle on necklace stands. Many pieces are positioned on tiered showcases along with an inspirational quote.
“I loved jewelry as a little girl,” Sanders said. “I used to sit on my grandmother’s bed and she would take out her jewelry box, full of hat pins, brooches, sweater clips and other items. I was fascinated by them.”
Sanders also is fascinated by periods in time, including the Victorian, Renaissance and Edwardian, among others, she said.
“I strive to evoke beauty, passion and power into my jewelry process, but mostly romance because I think it’s something that has gone by the wayside,” she said. “I love it when women wear jewelry pieces that are romantic.”
Sanders works in her studio daily, making four to five pieces at the same time. The process is intricate, but she has it down to a science.
Her firing station in a corner of the bus includes a sturdy metal table that holds all the tools she needs for her craft.
“I carve my molds, saw about 2 inches of silver, put in a crucible and heat with a blow torch until the silver melts into liquid, then pour into a mold that I’ve designed,” she said. “I make and carve a mold for each piece I do, so it will be one of a kind. I never do duplicates, so someone will have something that no one else has. One piece may take me several days or sometimes a week.”
With bracelets and necklaces as her mainstream, Sanders seldom designs earrings.
“My pieces are so ornate that I tell my customers to just wear studs or small hoops and let the pieces speak for themselves,” she said.
Although there are many jewelry designers doing many things, Sanders always is striving to come up with something that hasn’t been done, focusing on what’s pretty and not just interesting, she said.
“I’ve accomplished that with two of my recent pieces: a butterfly bracelet and bumble bee pendant that is all pavé — a setting of precious stones placed closely together with little metal showing — and it’s a very romantic look,” she said.
Sanders defines her pieces as edgy-elegant so women can wear them with ripped blue jeans or oversized sweaters, as well as to dressy events, she said.
A rectangle Victorian cut-glass stone surrounded by two cubic zirconia butterflies on a large silver bracelet is an example of one of the many edgy-elegant pieces filling the showcases.
“My goal has always been to make my jewelry affordable,” she said. “I like a piece to look like thousands of dollars, when it didn’t cost that at all.”
As for the future, Sanders will continue to learn and grow, always designing with her clients in mind, she said.
“People find me just by word of mouth or those who met me at my showings,” she said. “I love working with individuals to find their special piece or pieces that enhance them. You can’t do that on a website.”