Moose Spotlight: Creating Handmade Turquoise | Desert Stone Studio

"Don’t give up. Keep pushing the limits. Don’t try to shortcut the process, it’s in our mistakes we learn the most."

- Jessica of @desertstonestudio


Jewelry Artist Jessica of @desertstonestudio on Instagram

@desertstonestudio on Instagram

Meet Jessica, the jewelry artist behind @desertstonestudio. Based in Corralitos, CA, she has been silversmithing for under 2 years now. 


"I grew up thinking I had no artistic talent and spent my entire life believing that," Jessica stated when we asked her what inspired her to create jewelry. She started an artisanal sugar cookie business in 2018 and found that she did really well with making sugar cookies, which was a surprise to her. She saw a class offering silversmithing and she had always wanted to learn to make jewelry but Jessica had always told herself that she likes the skill or the artistic ability to do so and she decided to take a risk and see if she liked it.

"It was an instant connection, it turns out that I am artistic and I always have been I’m just good at mechanical art. Silversmithing came very easily to me, not that it hasn’t had its challenges and not that the medium isn’t challenging it’s just clicked." Aside from the actual making itself Jessica has really loved the community that she has dealt with other makers on social media. "That’s been one of the greatest gifts is connecting with other makers in connecting with my clients," she shared.

Recalling what was her journey like at first, Jessica starts, "Oh man. The first ring I made, I didn’t have flux so I made homemade flux. I proceeded to make my next four or five pieces with this garbage homemade flux. It was so challenging and so frustrating and so hard that once I actually got a bottle of flux it was an actual dream! One of the pieces that sold instantly for me and was really popular for a long time was my sun beam studs that I use your half moon sand hill stones for."

According to Jessica, it was the first piece where she really deviated from just hoops or a ring with the stone there was stamping, staining, measuring and it was challenging to get right but she made it so many times that now she can look at those beginning pieces and be in awe of how far she has come.

"I love the desert. I love cactuses, like I’m the crazy cactus lady," Jessica shared upon asking if there's a significant meaning behind her brand name. "It wasn’t always this way. While I have always loved the heat and I have always loved the desert it was my mom that was a crazy cactus lady." When her mom passed away, she inherited all her cactus and one thing led to another and she fell in love with cactus. Now, she has cactus all around her house and she has cactus pictures all over the walls, cactus tattooed on her, and cactus tapestries.

When she was creating the name “Desert Stone Studio” she really wanted to encompass something to do with the desert or desert landscape, some thing that embodied where so many of the stones come from that she works with and some thing that really felt like it was a part of her. Jessica went back-and-forth with a couple of names and she kept coming back to desert stone, which just stuck. Her logo is a cactus with the moon with sunbeams behind it and for her, it really just feels like her, like her brand and the small business she loves so much.

Take a look at Jessica's beautiful creations!

Turquoise Hoops by @desertstonestudio on Instagram

Handmade Turquoise Cuffs by @desertstonestudio on Instagram

Handmade Turquoise Jewelry by @desertstonestudio on Instagram


We asked if Jessica remembers her first AHA moment when she got started. "YES! It was the 4th or 5th attempt making my Siena Sunbeam studs with your half moon sand hill stone, everything was measured and cut right and the lines came out crisp even and beautiful. I put the post in the right position on the back to sit correctly on the lobe and they were just absolutely beautiful, it was a total aha moment." 

Jessica has these moments all the time. She finds it completely amazing and exciting every time she takes a pile of metal, some chemicals, stone, and heat and the end result is something beautiful. "I think it’s magic every time."

Here are a few more beautiful creations by Jessica!

Royston Ribbon Turquoise Earrings by Jessica of @desertstonestudio on Instagram

Sand Hill Turquoise Necklace by Jessica of @desertstonestudio on Instagram

Handmade Turquoise Jewelry Pieces by Jessica of @desertstonestudio on Instagram


"It’s sort of a controlled chaos every time. I don’t draw things out. I pick out the stones first and sort of let them tell me what they want to be. The stones are my favorite piece of the puzzle, they all have such a story." Jessica likes to imagine where they have came from and the story they tell. Most of the time, she shared that she is winging it. "I will sort of map out the collection as a whole and then I let the details work themselves out. It’s a mess most of the time but in the end it always turns out beautiful. I tried being very organized and draw everything and to be meticulous and it just doesn’t work for me. I map out the outline, and let the rest write itself."

This works for Jessica. "But I’ll be honest it’s always a race to the finish line , I should really work on streamlining that process, the uploading process etc. I struggle the most on that piece 😀😅"

"Handmade sterling silver jewelry encompassing turquoise and stones, rustic, not perfect," Jessica described her design style. She said her work isn’t perfect and that it doesn’t look like it was made by a machine; "I guess I haven’t gotten that good yet. I see some makers and their work is so good and so clean it looks like a machine made it. I just don’t think that will ever be me even if my skills get there, there’s always been a sort of grittiness to my edges, in life in art, and in my success. I love that part about me and about the things that I create. It would be wrong to say that they are flawed, they aren’t, the end result of all things I make has a humanness about it and I love that."

What's one design tip you one to share with your fellow artists?
" Buy the right tools. I have found that yes my skills have grown immensely but some thing that aids just as much and my growth is having the right tools. So 100% don’t skimp on tools and find reliable high quality lapidaries and suppliers to get your stones. Be honest about who you are an allow yourself to be seen; connection is the best part of this. Lastly go easy on yourself, this is a process, and social media numbers likes and follows will not matter at the end of the day."
Any words of encouragement or tips to those who are starting out in the world of jewelry-making?
" Don’t give up. Keep pushing the limits. Don’t try to shortcut the process, it’s in our mistakes we learn the most. You are worthy. Don’t copy other makers , you are only short selling yourself in that process."
Lastly, Jessica's message to the universe:
" Gratitude for the decades of struggle and hardship I experienced . Thank you , for those experiences . They weren’t happening to me they were happening for me and have made me into the woman I am today. I stand here, in the best space I have ever been in, after five of the hardest years of my life, having come out on the other side so it would seem and I’m grateful, so so so grateful that it got to be as hard as it was. I am now softer, kinder and 1000 times more driven then I was five years ago. Thank you universe for the challenges, they have made me tough as steel and soft as silk at the same time but I know that if I hadn’t experienced them I wouldn’t be growing to the scale that I am now. So thank you for the struggle. THE BRAVER I GET THE LUCKIER I BECOME ♥️"
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Take a look at her website:

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