It’s no mystery why hordes of people become “transplants” in Colorado – and why natives cherish their fortune of having been born here. Our bluer skies, myriad recreation opportunities and the 300 annual days of sunshine we boast are just some of the thousands of reasons the Centennial State is the crown jewel of the United States.
Snow or shine, Colorado is an epicenter of creativity – particularly for jewelers. Some of my favorite designers live and find their inspiration here . So today, this space is reserved for fellow Coloradans Deanna Hood, Deb Fine, Ina and Kristin of iNk jewelry and, of course, the John Atencio.
Deanna Hood’s jewelry is reminiscent of the items a mother might find in the pockets of her child’s overalls at the end of the day. A gorgeous mishmash of found objects, handmade lampwork beads and whimsy, her pieces have helped to support her family after the untimely passing of her husband. A fun fact about this artist: One of her most treasured pieces of jewelry is her Little Orphan Annie Decoder pin. Her designs can be found at Willow Artisan’s Market in Old Littleton, where I found this treasured teacup (right).
Former Colorado craft sale rivals Ina Gustafsen and Kristin Rankin decided to combine forces in 2002 to form iNk jewelry. The pair creates unique pieces formed from recycled silver that takes all sorts of shapes ranging from everyday items to participants in our natural world. Their work can be found in a dozen shops across the country, as well as on Etsy.
The artists sweetly refer to their creations as “inkets.”
I snatched up this adorable piece (left) while killing time with retail therapy – and after a double bourbon – before an international flight at DIA. (I’m not a good flier.)
Deb Fine, namesake and talent behind Fine Designs, has a passion for the power of gemstones. Her website reads, “Everyday Deb is thankful to be surrounded by the beauty and wonder of natural gems: their colors, their textures, and their properties are the muse for her designs. The interplay of colors and how they can satisfy, excite, or soothe is a constant source of inspiration.”
For more than 12 years, Fine has worked to establish a strong presence on the Front Range at craft fairs and in small boutiques, relishing in the “enhancement of a woman’s visage by a little burst of color and an eye-catching design.” Her work can be found at a number of shops, including Silk Road on South Gaylord, where I found this little trinket (right).
John Atencio is arguably the most well-known jewelry designer from my home state. A fellow alumnus of Colorado State University (GO RAMS!) he revolutionized modern jewelry, popularizing offset stones, mixed metals and alternatives to the more typical round, princess, pear, marquis and square cuts. His pieces are distinct, solid, colorful and fun. While I also treasure a limited edition sterling silver ram horn he designed to honor his Alma Mater, my personal favorite piece of his is this ring (above) which my mother gave me to mark a big career change.
I invite you to dabble and delight in the designs of these artists. Just please, don’t move here. We’re running out of room, not unlike my jewelry box.