Moose Spotlight: Creating Beautifully Handmade Mixed Metal Jewelry

"Just keep going. You’ll mess up time & time again but with each time you learn how to course correct."

- Arianna, @arianna_nicolaijewelry 


Jewelry Artist Arianna Gardner of @arianna_nicolaijewelry on Instagram

@arianna_nicolaijewelry on Instagram

This is jewelry artist Arianna Gardner of AriannaNicolai Jewelry, based in Eugene, Oregon, Arianna has been creating jewelry for four years now. Her creations can also be seen on Instagram, @arianna_nicolaijewelry 💚

Arianna's journey as a jewelry artist is truly special. She shared, "My mother was a jeweler, she suddenly passed away four years ago. As a deep desire to connect with her and work through grief, I began creating and messing around in her studio." She realized that working with her hands, hammering, twisting, cutting, and constructing pieces brought some peace. Adding that it quickly became a passion and she realized she does have a knack for it. 

Starting out, she knew nothing. Arianna is self taught and went through lots of trial and error. She said, "I didn’t know how to solder and that was a roadblock for a while. It was during covid so I couldn’t take any in person classes." She sought out a couple of online classes and quickly realized she loved making rings and setting stones. Once she learned how to solder, melt, and recycle metal, Arianna was hooked. 🥰

For a long time, Arianna said she was simply creating, hoarding her pieces in private - intimidated and insecure about what people would think. One time, she still remembers a friend coming over and saying she couldn’t believe Arianna wasn’t selling the stuff. Her friend bought a piece and Arianna began sharing. Shortly after that, she was selling on Instagram and in a boutique salon.

Let's take a look at some of Arianna's beautiful creations!

Turquoise Necklace by Arianna Gardner of @arianna_nicolaijewelry on Instagram

Turquoise Ring by Arianna Gardner of @arianna_nicolaijewelry on Instagram
Turquoise Jewelry by Arianna Gardner of @arianna_nicolaijewelry on Instagram
Creating jewelry, Arianna has had several AHA moments, but she shared that there are a few that really stood out, "the first engagement ring that I designed & made, the first time I set a square turquoise (yours 😍 ) and when I had a piece featured on the red carpet." ✨
"Typically, if I’m working with a stone the piece evolves around that, what orientation is it calling for, what metal would best feature the colors. If it’s a more freestyle piece of mixed metals it evolves while making it." On occasion, Arianna shared that she will sketch but usually it’s on her mind coming to her during late nights in bed dreaming up designs, sometimes even on a drive or a walk.
Asked to describe her own design style, Arianna said, "bold, mix metal, heavy substantial, organic, one of a kind, layered, and everyday durability." She designs pieces to be worn all day everyday, layered, and stacked; nothing plated or too costume-like.
Let's take a look at some of her stunning jewelry pieces!
Rosarita Ring by Arianna Gardner of @arianna_nicolaijewelry on Instagram
Turquoise and White Buffalo Rings by Arianna Gardner of @arianna_nicolaijewelry on Instagram
Handmade Jewelry by Arianna Gardner of @arianna_nicolaijewelry on Instagram


What's one design tip you one to share with your fellow artists?

"Just keep going. You’ll mess up time and time again, but with each time you learn how to course correct. Watch videos. Anneal and then anneal again. 😄 The flex shaft and rolling mill is your best friend."

One piece of technical advice on creating.

"Don’t cut corners on physics. If it’s not square from the beginning it won’t be square in the end. Use calipers. Keep seams clean when soldering and use the protection."

Any words of encouragement or tips to those who are starting out in the world of jewelry-making?

"Be patient and watch videos. Ask questions on forums and make friends in the industry. Become an apprentice and be open minded. Let your ego go."

Lastly, here is Arianna's message to the universe: 

Arianna Gardner Blog Feature by Turquoise Moose

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