Moose Spotlight: Making Beautiful and Timeless Sterling Silver Jewelry

This is jewelry artist Stephanie Phares, also known as @saltwater.and.silver on Instagram. She first began metalsmithing when she was 16, and she has been doing it on and off for the last year 17 years.
Jewelry Artist Stephanie Phares of @saltwater.and.silver on Instagram

Stephanie shares that even if she has a lot of time invested, she still sees herself as endlessly learning, with much more to go. She also mentions that one of her favorite things about smithing is that the learning can go on as long as you’d like! In addition, she didn’t fully commit to her own bench until 2020, and she says she’s so glad she finally did!

We wanted to know where most of our favorite artists source their turquoise. Stephanie says, “My main source for quality turquoise is Turquoise Moose! Otherwise, I aim to source my stones from small lapidary artists via Instagram.” She highlights how she loves supporting small businesses, and we absolutely love hearing it from our faves :) 

Curious about what are the factors that help in deciding as to which turquoise artists purchase, we asked Stephanie! She mentions she mostly chooses her stones based on the feeling that she gets whenever she sees them. She also adds that she’d love to say that she has everything planned out for each one she gets, but it’s not actually the case. 

In her words, “I see creating as an energy exchange; within the pieces being created and the material itself. Each stone has its own energy, I typically choose the ones that I can’t look away from!” 

We love this! Every turquoise piece tells a story, and that’s one of the many things we love about turquoise in general. 

From a jewelry artists’ perspective, we asked what are the advantages and disadvantages of working with turquoise. For Stephanie, she loves working with turquoise because of its wide variety of color and texture. She says it totally blows her away that one stone can be white, another black, and all the colors between! (We feel this!) The variety adds endless interest to her. 

The only con of working with turquoise for Stephanie is that, like most soft stones, is that turquoise cabochons can break, but when that happens, Stephanie says she can just use them for inlay - which to her is not much of a disadvantage!

When we asked if she had specific turquoise mine faves, shapes, and sizes, Stephanie answers that choosing a favorite turquoise is hard! However, she’s always drawn to the greens and teals in Treasure Mountain turquoise, but she loves the faint blues in Sand Hill turquoise as well!

She also mentions Purple Lavender. She says she’s in constant awe of them all! Her personal current favorite shapes are teardrops and triangles, but she’s about to load up on some surfboards! (We can’t wait to see her creations!)

When we asked if she had any bezeling tip, she shares, “Using a miter jig totally changed my bezel-making game. It’s such a fast and efficient way to get that perfectly straight edge for soldering. And don’t be scared of right angle stones! Just set the corners first!”

As we are doing our best in educating ourselves on becoming more environmentally friendly, we wanted to learn from our favorite artists as well. Stephaine shares she really big into lowering her carbon footprint whenever possible - both in the studio and in her everyday life.

She works to purchase stones from businesses that keep the environment in mind when they consider their sourcing, and she does bulk ordering to minimize the effects of shipping. 

Adding to that, in her studio, Stephanie saves all metal scraps/dust and broken stones to utilize in later creations, mentioning how metals can always be reused! Lastly, she also doesn’t use any plastics, and her shipping packaging is fully recyclable and/or compostable.

Love, love, these initiatives! 

Lastly, we asked if she had a favorite design or technique at the moment. Stephanie says that right now, her favorite aesthetic is to leave the pieces simple and clean. “Even with elements like leaves, twisted wire, and stamping added, I like to keep my jewelry bright, with clean lines.”

Stephanie shares that her goal for 2021 is to work more with sculpting the metal and using the stones as highlights rather than solely the feature.

Take a look at some of her gorgeous turquoise jewelry pieces! 
Turquoise Jewelry by Stephanie Phares of @saltwater.and.silver on Instagram
Follow her work on Instagram:
Take a look at her website:

What do you like about working with Turquoise Moose? 

“My favorite part of working with Turquoise Moose is that I know without a doubt that I’m getting a high-quality stone. I’m certain that each one will be even more beautiful in person and setting it will go smoothly. I’ve also had the great pleasure of speaking with the customer service, and each time has been so wonderful! I know that I will be taken care of at Turquoise Moose and that they value me as much as I value them! Lifetime client over here!” 

-Stephanie Phares

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