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Meet Maddalena Bearzi of Maddalena Bearzi One of A Kind Organic Jewelry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maddalena Bearzi.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in Verona, Italy and I have traveled extensively studying wild animals and learning new ways to express myself. I began to pursue my passion for jewelry craftsmanship on my own about a decade ago, and later studied metalsmithing at the University of California, Los Angeles. I learned techniques from master silversmith Gordon Wainwright and world-recognized jewelry artist Harold O’Connor.

All my pieces are inspired by the natural world around me, a world to not only appreciate but also protect. In addition of being a jeweler, I am a marine biologist and an environmentalist who cares deeply about our Planet.

As a scientist, I hold a Ph.D. in Biology and work as President of the research and environmental NGO Ocean Conservation Society. I have studied whales, dolphins and other animals in the field for over 25 years and published two books: Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes and Dolphins (Harvard University Press, 2008, coauthored with C. Stanford), and Dolphin Confidential: Confessions of a Field Biologist (Chicago University Press, 2012; with my sketches). I also worked as photojournalist for several publications, and I am currently one of the official bloggers for the National Geographic – Voices: Ideas and Insights from Explorers.

My jewelry usually draws from my experiences in other artistic media such as paint and textiles. I started making jewelry by joining sustainable textiles with distinctive solid elements such as repurposed metals, upcycled vintage charms and stones, to reveal unique and texturized pieces. Textile-based creations have expanded to a focus on one of a kind, organic metal jewelry.

Each piece is individually handcrafted, mostly of fine and reclaimed silver and gold, with precious and semi-precious stones. I like to incorporate bronze, brass and copper by using innovative metalsmithing techniques to create original and organic shapes, textures and subtle color tones. Handmade limited editions, such as my Acqua, Aria, Pianeta and Terra limited -edition collections further the exploration of natural themes translated into striking, coordinated pieces.

Using materials and methods (such as reclaimed metals and upcycled components) that attempt to avoid depleting or destroying the Earth’s resources, my jewelry exemplifies that style and sustainability can actually go hand in hand.

I find sources of creativity and new design ideas for my jewelry pieces everywhere. I can let my imagination go wild just by walking my dog Genghis near my home. I find inspiration in a hummingbird on a flower, a leaf on the ground or a rock of an odd shape. A few years back, I collected pebbles on an isolated shore during a trip to Patagonia. The pebbles became the inspiration for a limited edition of one of a kind earrings and necklaces. At the end, every jewelry piece that I make tells its own unique, nature-inspired story.

Each piece always bears a distinctive, Italian name and it has its own “story” – what I find a refreshing alternative to mass made products. My artisan jewelry collections include rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and many unisex designs that accommodate a range of personal styles and budgets.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I wouldn’t say it has been a smooth road… I run most aspects of my own company even if I do get help to deal with some of the business functions.

I think one of the biggest struggles along the way was balancing the jewelry business with my other “parallel careers”: marine biology and writing. There never seems to be enough time!

Please tell us about Maddalena Bearzi One of A Kind Organic Jewelry.
The name of my company is “One of A Kind Organic jewelry” and that’s what I specialize in. I basically design and make by hand unique pieces, from textile to fine jewelry. Many of my pieces have organic, natural forms and everything I create is inspired by nature.

I am proud of not following any trend and still being able to create what I like and not what fashion dictates. My ideal buyer is the one that appreciates the value of a handcrafted piece and the time involved in making it.

What sets me apart from others is that each of my jewelry pieces truly tells its own, unique story.

Jewelry-making is, for me, connected to my time spent in nature and among wild animals. My writing, my drawings, my photographs and my books have always been linked to science and the natural world; jewelry is not different.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I am a marine biologist by training so I wasn’t much of a “business” woman when I started my jewelry company. I would have probably taken some business lessons early on….

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