Jewelry maker Loren Peters has been making jewelry almost as long as she can remember. “When I was in third grade, the mom of a friend of mine started encouraging us to make jewelry,” she says. “Growing up, I used to make necklaces with plastic heads and small dolls and miniature plastic things.”
Peters, who grew up in Portland and attended Portland State University, is largely self-taught as an artist. “I find that life is my continual education,” she says. “When I make my jewelry, I often make things I’d like to wear, but as I design it, I’m also trying it on to get a good idea of how the design will look when another woman wears it.”
Stones and semi-precious stones such as jasper, chalcedony, jade and emeralds form the basis of many of Peters’ designs. “I like how organic the stones are,” she says. “I’m drawn to the colors and textures. Often, I combine the stones with other items such as old Roman coins. Sometimes, I’ll also take apart an old piece of jewelry and then rework the materials into something else.”
The stones are set in sterling silver wire to create her pieces. The wrap bracelet combines the wire with aquamarine, labradorite and a Roman coin to create a piece that you can wear anywhere on the arm, while the rings (above, right) showcase a single large stone or a bundled collection of smaller pieces. “I always hand-form my pieces,” she says. “I use sterling silver tubing for the bracelets and slowly bend the tubing so it doesn’t collapse. I also hand-wrap the rings and I make some of them from a continuous piece of wire.”
Peters works out of a combined studio and shop in downtown Portland. “I like having the shop in the same location as where I’m making the jewelry because it gives me a great opportunity to interact with people,” she says. “I get to meet my customers, see what they like, and, if they want, I can easily alter a stone or a setting.” The wrap bracelet costs $150; the rings sell for $60 to $80 each.
Contact jewelry maker Loren Peters via her shop, Adorn (515 S.W. Broadway, 503-957-6882 or go to her website, adorncollective.com ) in Portland.