Art is meeting music for a pair of Westbury and Hicksville jewelry makers who have combined their love of both worlds to create jewelry that most people would only associate with the strumming of a guitar.
A guitar pick is said to be as crucial to the creation of a musician’s unique sound as the instrument itself. The co-owners of Inlightened Jewelry Design say for them, guitar picks are the muse for the creation of their unique and handcrafted jewelry.
“Ever since we started making our jewelry using guitar picks we have been so inspired,” says Jeannemarie Graziano of Westbury. “Our creative juices just keep flowing effortlessly,“ adds Kathy O’Brien of Hicksville.
The friends met in a fitting place for two future artistic business partners—in a high school art class at Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville. After graduation O’Brien studied art at The Fashion Institute of Technology for more than two years, before leaving to go to work, while Graziano spent years working in the art and production departments of several local publications, until 2011 when her company had a major layoff.
“That’s when I thought I’ve got to find something new that I have an interest in,” explains Graziano. “I love jewelry and art so I asked Kathy to take a jewelry making class with me.”
Just like back in their high school days, they sat side by side in an art classroom, this time learning about assembling jewelry at a local beading store. A few short months later they started making original pieces from their homes in Hicksville and Westbury. Those first pieces were made from gemstones, crystals and sterling silver. After making enough jewelry to show to the public, they rented vendor space at area artisan fairs, craft fairs and music festivals where they displayed and sold their jewelry.
It was at the music festivals where they say they drew their biggest inspirations, especially meeting many of the musicians.
“Kerry Kearney, the blues slide guitarist, has been a big influence on us because of his love of music,” says O’Brien. Graziano explains her love of music as well. “I had a concentration in music classes in high school. I always loved both art and music.”
That combined love of both art and music came together for Graziano on June 1, 2014, at the Long Beach Arts Festival, where she spotted someone wearing a guitar pick on a chain. She had seen a piece like it, before but this day she had a light bulb moment.
“I realized we can do what we’ve been doing with our gemstone jewelry on guitar picks and make them really beautiful,” explains Graziano. “I went crazy with the idea, I just kept getting one idea after another.”
It wasn’t just her ideas that kept flowing, Graziano worked feverishly to create enough guitar pick jewelry pieces to display at their next festival, which was just one week away.
She showed up at the festival with 25 handcrafted guitar pick necklaces and earrings. She was so busy making the jewelry she didn’t even stop to tell her partner about her new idea in advance. “I took one look and thought I couldn’t believe how beautiful they were,” a still impressed O’Brien says.
Apparently the public did too, because Graziano and O’Brien say they sold 15 out of the 25 pieces that very day. It was then they knew they were onto something. “I started making them also,” says O’Brien. “It is very exciting. Every time I sit down to make them, I just can’t stop I am so inspired.”
Since that first show they have created and sold hundreds of their original handcrafted guitar pick jewelry pieces. They use actual guitar picks made from all sorts of material that run the gamut from celluloid, to lucite, wood, antique brass and copper.
They emblazon each guitar pick with charms, beads or any other idea the pair dream up. Earrings are made with a sterling silver hook, while the necklaces are primarily silver plate. They also recently added bracelets to add to their line of jewelry choices.
“We are very proud of the fact that we are keeping our jewelry affordable while remaining high quality.” O’Brien proudly proclaims.
For more information visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/inlightenedjewelry.