Longtime readers of Slow Southern Style know that I’m a big fan of jewelry, especially when the handmade, one of a kind variety. So it gives me great pleasure to introduce y’all to Jess Leigh Jewels, a New Orleans jewelry designer with a penchant for custom pieces. I e-sat down with Jess to find out what motivates her, where to buy her handiwork, and most importantly what her favorite local beer is.
How did you get your start making jewelry?
This is actually a great question. A friend of mine saw some very beautiful stone bead stretch bracelets that a local boutique was carrying for about $300-$500 a piece. I was able to make exactly the same thing (minus the diamond encrusted charms) for about $40 for her. She started wearing them and another local store started carrying them. I sold so many that I wondered what else I could make. It kind of ballooned from there! Everything I make now comes from within. I have taught myself how do everything from the simple earrings to complex hand wrapped wire and custom pieces.
Describe the Jess Leigh Jewels gal.
In a word, eclectic. This is a girl that will wear a t-shirt and jeans with layers of bracelets up her arms and rings on most of her fingers or the girl that loves a pretty dress with a necklace made of found objects, sparkles and jewels. I know I like different things from one day to the next!
What’s your favorite local beer?
Definately would be Abita Purple Haze.
And where are you drinking it?
Finn McCool’s is a favorite, but so is Mick’s. Anywhere I can hang out with my friends and enjoy the beer and company 🙂
If money were no object, what direction would you take your jewelry line in?
I would love to start casting my own charms and settings. I have so many ideas. Right now my line is one of a kind pieces only and I struggle with wanting to keep it that way. It does make it hard to have a catalog. I adore the fact that when someone wears something I make there is only one in the whole world. Everyone deserves that special feeling. That is my goal.
Describe your ideal Saturday night.
With my constant running around during the week, my ideal Saturday night usually involves something low key. I love grilling at home with my boyfriend, Stephen, and a few friends. Some yummy food (usually fresh seafood), a few bottles of wine, and laughing with our friends feeds my soul.
Where can we buy your jewelry, both online and in stores?
Here in New Orleans you will find my line at Lola Boutique on Carrollton Avenue and also at Fairy on Magazine Street.
Earthly Concerns in Baton Rouge also carries my line.
I’m always looking for new stores and I work a lot from Facebook.
I do also have an Etsy shop that is always improving.
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