Artist Suzanne Valeriano creates unusual jewelry designs with repurposed, vintage and reclaimed materials. View more of her collection on her website.
I am a self-taught mixed media jewelry artist curating and designing handmade fashion jewelry. My jewelry holds meaning and sentiment and is inspired by fashion jewelry history, fashion jewelry trends, notable designers and innovators throughout the industry.
I have tried my creative hand at many things over the years. I recently fell in love with creating vintage-inspired jewelry. It started with a few components from a broken piece of vintage jewelry that I held on to from back in the day when I owned and operated a resale shop with my sister and mother. I felt that these pieces were special. I knew that I wanted to create something with them one day.
Fast forward to just a few years ago. I began to play with these beautiful vintage jewelry elements. It didn’t take long—I had some vintage chain, some jump rings and ear wires from a previous crafting endeavor. Low and behold, a beautiful necklace emerged, and then matching earrings!
These were my first handmade jewelry creations. I thought they were pretty good and I wanted to make more. Thus began my handmade jewelry journey. I’m always searching for unique components, trying new techniques, absorbing as much information from others, experimenting and teaching myself along the way.
My jewelry is created with repurposed vintage jewelry parts and pieces. I use vintage buttons, stampings, filigree, stones, beads, chain, findings, reclaimed lace, fabric and trim as well as old stock and reproduction components.
In addition, I seek out unique beads and components handmade by other talented artists and makers, such as lampworked glass with hand-painted florals. I love supporting other artists. I’ll occasionally purchase their work as a collaboration of sorts, and include them in my jewelry designs and collections. I always give credit where credit is due.
Each piece is individually conceived, curated and created by hand. I use basic jewelry making skills, materials, varied techniques and/or a variety of mixed media such as paint, ink, patina, adhesives, resin, wax, cold enamel, glass glitter, mica, torch, paper and leather.
My designs begin with a focal point and/or a cohesive combination of one or more vintage or artisan elements. I build them with complimentary colors, textures and materials. Elements are artfully arranged and physically assembled in an intuitive and strategic way. I will utilize whatever tools, techniques and media are needed to achieve a desired end result or to make magic happen as I like to refer to it.
The history of vintage jewelry, designers and fashion provide me with creative insight. They inspire innovation with colors, textures, materials and themes. Every component and process acts as a character playing a part in the awakening of nostalgia rich with vintage pride and patina.
As I evolve as a mixed media jewelry artist, I continue to learn and grow with each new jewelry design or experiment. I’m always in pursuit of the next new medium, technique, or improved skill. Most of all, I strive to make fabulous finished one-of-a-kind adornments for someone to behold, experience and cherish.