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Sleeping Beauty Turquoise: a love affair with the best

by Ashley Lodato

Unless you count a brief infatuation with sea shells when Bronwen Jewelry was in its infancy on the beaches of Maui, our company's enduring love has always been turquoise. This humble mineral is, scientifically speaking, a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum. Aesthetically speaking, it's a blue-green stone with an astonishing range of hues, all of them vibrant, all of them appealing.

The term "turquoise" was first used in the 17th century, derived from the French word turquois for "Turkish," a nod to the Turks who brought the mineral from Persia to Europe. But turquoise was known long before its current name became common: first century Roman philospher Pliny the Elder referred to this gemstone as callais; the Aztecs knew it as chalchihuitl.

Bronwen Jewelry Turquoise

In its finer grades, turquoise is rare and valuable, prized for jewelry for its unique hue. But in recent times, the presence of synthecs, treatments, and imitations has devalued true turquoise.

But not for Bronwen Jewelry! We're just as in love with turquoise as we were the first time we used it in a pair of tiny drop earrings accented with red beads and silver spacers, and only the real stuff will do for us. That's why we choose Arizona turquoise, straight from the Sleeping Beauty Mine. 

Bronwen Jewelry Turquoise

Located in Globe, Arizona, the Sleeping Beauty Mine is one of the Southwest's most beloved mines. Initially mined for copper and gold, Sleeping Beauty is now renowned for its turquoise: solid, sky blue, no matrix (particles of the granite that originally hosted the turquoise's formation). If you've seen the jewelry of the Zuni people, you've seen Sleeping Beauty turquoise. 

As early as 1500 BC, Ancestral Puebloans in the Southwest found Sleeping Beauty turquoise as they mined with hand tools and collected little bits of the robin's egg blue stone to make into beads. Turquoise quickly became sought-after and was traded widely throughout the region among North American tribes. Anglos mining copper and gold in the 1900s "discovered" the turquoise by accident, and soon shifted mining operations at Sleeping Beauty to harvest this lovely mineral. Although the Sleeping Beauty Mine is now closed, in its heyday it produced about 1600 pounds of turquoise each month, and thousands of pounds of it are currently circulating throughout world markets.

Why do we love Arizona turquoise so much? Let us count the ways:

1) Its beauty is incomparable. From the tiny faceted Arizona turquoise nuggets in our Turquoise Trail and Turquoise Isis necklaces, to the larger chunks we use in some of our favorite statement pieces, Arizona turquoise is eye catching. It's flattering to all skin tones. It complements a wide range of clothing colors. One look and you're hooked.

Bronwen Jewelry Turquoise

2) We won't compromise on quality. You may not know this, but much of the "turquoise" on the market is actually another stone dyed blue. Howlite is a bona fide gemstone with its own redeeming qualities, but due to its porous nature it is often dyed blue or green to resemble--and be sold as--turquoise, a far more rare and precious stone. (Howlite can also be dyed red to resemble coral, which we applaud, since we are committed to ending the destruction of the world's dwindling coral reefs.) The soft, porous nature that makes Howlite so versatile also makes it less durable, so if you're getting Howlite "turquoise," you're getting a product that won't last. And as Bronwen Jewelry makes a lifetime promise to our customers through our signature lifetime warranty, that's a product we won't stand behind. 

3) We can hand-pick our strands of Arizona turquoise--resulting in the finest, most flawless products for you to wear. If you've seen us at trade shows like the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, you've seen us with heads bent, eyes squinted, poring and pawing over literally thousands of bead strands, picking out the best-quality and most attractive turquoise and other beads. We're not at the whim of some massive Chinese Howlite turquoise factory shipping us uncensored beads; we are choosing the very best beads to bring home to be made into artisan jewelry right in our Bend, OR studio.

Bronwen Jewelry Turquoise

4) Small scale mining beats open pit mining. The roots of Bronwen Jewelry's active line are in the great outdoors--jewelry inspired by the wild natural spaces that surround us. We like big open spaces--EXCEPT when it comes to mining! You probably already know this, but open pit mining has an irrevocable environmental impact. Erosion. Sinkhole formation. Loss of biodiversity. Groundwater contamination. Whereas small scale mining (or "artisanal mining," as it's becoming known) tends to use rudimentary techniques, which make impossible the type of widespread destruction caused by open pit mining.
Bronwen Jewelry Turquoise
Artisanal mining yields less product...and less impact. We believe that artisanal mining is the only ethical and responsible method of mineral extraction and we're willing to pay higher prices for turquoise mined on a small scale.
Bronwen Jewelry Turquoise
You've heard the phrase "true blue." Well, that's Bronwen Jewelry all the way when it comes to our turquoise. To rich, vivid Arizona turquoise, we are loyal, committed, unwavering, steadfast. Arizona turquoise--you're our true blue.
 

           
Posted in Blog By Bronwen Jewelry
Spotlight on Title Nine

Spotlight on Title Nine

3/21/2018 11:55 AM

by Ashley Lodato

If you're a sporty woman of a certain age and you hear the words "Title 9," your first mental image is probably that of your favorite jog bra, that awesome board skort, or the athletic apparel catalog that reads more like a "Ten Ways to Get Active This Weekend" article than a piece of retail advertising. And only after that do you think of the original Title IX--the landmark 1972 legislation that mandates gender equality in public education--that was the inspiration for the largest independently owned and operated retailer in the women’s fitness and adventure market (Title Nine).

Bronwen Jewelry Title Nine Womens Clothing

If you've ever wondered what women's athletics were like before Title IX (the education amendment), you need only talk to a woman who struggled to explore her athletic potential in her public high school or university prior to 1972. College men had competitive gymnastics squads with fully-equipped gyms; women had old wrestling mats and tumbling clubs. Men had track teams with pole vaulting; women had croquet. Men had football; women had cheerleading. It was difficult for a young athletic woman to envision herself making athletic accomplishments a lifetime pursuit, much less finding the resources to help her achieve those dreams. 

This is not to suggest that Title IX fixed the inequities between men's and women's sports; nay, much work remains to be done, in everything from equipment funding to scholarships. But let's take a moment to appreciate the groundbreaking civil rights law that paved the way for women to take their rightful places on the track, in the pool, on the court, and on the field.

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

— Title IX, Education Amendment of 1972

Bronwen Jewelry Title Nine Womens Clothing

If you've every wondered what women's athletics were like before Title Nine (the apparel company), you need only talk to buxom women who loved running but couldn't find bounce-control bras, or swimmers who couldn't find bathing suits that were comfortable and rugged enough for open-water swims, or yoga enthusiasts reduced to wearing bulky cotton sweatpants to do their asanas. Title IX mandated that women and girls have equal access to sports (and other activities); Title Nine made it possible for these women and girls to pursue sports (and other activities) in effective, comfortable, and attractive apparel.

As a recent college graduate in the late 1980s, Title Nine founder Missy Park noticed that no one seemed particularly interested in making athletic apparel for specifically designed for women's bodies. Through old-fashioned hard work, experiementation, and numerous failures, Park and her team began to learn about what they liked to make and what their customers liked to buy. Steadily, Title Nine built up a growing clientele of customers who realized the difference that well-made, activity-specific, aesthetically-pleasing sports apparel makes for active women. Says Park, "The people here are product users, all of our buyers are product users, the folks on the phone are product users. It’s important to us that we be able to speak authentically about what we’re selling." 
That authenticity led to brand loyalty, and now, 30 years later, Title Nine is the independently-owned and operated global apparel company with philanthropic impacts that someone like Park--who believed in women's ability to achieve their dreams--envisioned back in the Berkeley garage where she sewed her first sports bra. As with Title IX, the rest is history.

Bronwen Jewelry Title Nine Womens Clothing

Title Nine is owned and operated by women (and, as they say, "a few cool guys"), as is Bronwen Jewelry. But that's only one of the many reasons we admire the company and feel grateful to be entering our second decade of partnering with them. First of all, despite their growth over 29 years, Title Nine has never compromised on the quality and integrity of its products. They make great clothing: attractive, durable, comfortable, and affordable. They use regular, active women as their models (including Bronwen Jewelry founder Bronwen Lodato!), not impossible-dream professionals. Some of their models have grey hair, or muffin tops, or wrinkles--nearly unheard-of in the retail apparel modeling population. There's a gym right in the main office! ("I wanted fitness to be at the center of this company and it literally is," says Park.)

Shall we go on?
Title Nine provides grants to organizations that support girls in underserved communities. They sponsor athletic events through their T9 Mermaid Race Series program. They're committed to sustainability. And as a company, they've got great personality, as evidenced by Park's musings on everything from everything from the #metoo movement to the inspiration provided by Yvon Chouinard about doing well by doing good. And, oh yeah, they also sell Bronwen Jewelry bracelets. What's not to love?

Bronwen Jewelry Title Nine Womens Clothing

As a company that prides itself on its high-quality, durable, handcrafted line of artisan and active jewelry, Bronwen Jewelry appreciates Title Nine's dedication to excellence, as well its shared value of helping women look and feel their best. We embrace their customer satisfaction ethic as our own; they have a generous return/exchange program, we have our signature lifetime warranty. Our companies are both built on the notion that women are multi-faceted, complex individuals who can be both bad-ass and sensitive, rugged and delicate, athletic and girly. And like the original Title IX, both Title Nine and Bronwen Jewelry stand behind the concept of helping women pursue their dreams. 

           
Posted in Blog By Bronwen Jewelry
Dive In! Water-worthy Essentials

by Ashley Lodato

You love winter: its crisp, cold nights, its feathery blanket of snow glittering in the sun, the alpine slopes, the Nordic trails, the ice stalactites of waterfalls, the smooth ribbons of frozen rivers. But admit it--after 4 or 5 months of shoveling your walkway, living in wool socks, and constantly having sodden mittens dripping by the woodstove, you're ready for a little lightweight living. Flip flops, a sundress, and a baseball cap--that's what you're looking forward to.

Accessorizing in winter is fun, but picking out jewels for spring is downright liberating. This week Bronwen Jewelry welcomes spring in the form of water-worthy essentials for beach, river, and lake living. Prepare yourself to be inspired.

Swim Wraps

Bronwen Jewelry active jewelry waterproof jewelry water bracelet carve swimsuit

Bronwen Jewelry's unique swim wrap bracelets are a no-brainer for spring and summer water sports. No matter what you're doing--from swimming laps to taking your SUP out on its maiden voyage to testing out that Pacific swell--a swim wrap will hang tight with you.

Swim wraps are so lightweight and comfortable that you won't even notice you're wearing one, but rest assured, others will. And as if the mere sight of these attractive, sturdy, active bracelets isn't enough, consider the fact that they're made out of surplus swimsuit materials from Carve Designs: repurposing at its finest. 

With swim wrap bracelets, your only dilemma is going to be "which one?" We've got you covered. The swim wrap's low price of $22 (and some at $14.50 during our spring sale!) makes it possible for you to say "yes" to more than just one.

Waterweave Bracelets:

bronwen jewelry waterproof bracelet active jewelry swim bracelet

One of the Waterweave Bracelet's many attributes is that it transitions seamlessly from a day on the river to a night on the town. You'll need to change your clothes between activities, but your Waterweave is good for the long haul. If you're a fan of the faceted Czech glass beads on the Glasswrap and Beleza bracelets, you're going to love their water-friendly cousin, the adjustable Waterweave. The Waterweave won't help you be a better surfer, paddler, or swimmer, but it will sure make you look better while you're doing your favorite water sports. 

Tiny Charms:

bronwen jewelry mermaid necklace active jewelry waterproof jewelry

Tiny Charm necklaces are our original water-friendly piece of jewelry and they're still living up to their reputation as the sturdiest and most versatile line of active jewelry on the market. Tiny Charms pack a lot of punch: a delicate silver or gold pendant on a deceptively rugged and irresistibly colorful cordelette. And once we realized how effortlessly elegant these little necklaces were, we added our line of Tiny Charm earrings.

Are the little girls with you? You're teaching them to love the water as much as you do, so they'll want to look like you as well. Give your little water girls a Tiny Charm Seahorse, a Tiny Charm Starfish, or a Tiny Charm Mermaid from our Petite B kids' line

For the most rigorous of water sports--surfing, whitewater, and other encounters with big waves--the Tiny Charm line is the one you'll want to be wearing. The fish in you says yes to Tiny Charms. 

Surfing-and-SUPing Staples:

For tackling the waves, we recommend some of our most swim/shower/sweat friendly pieces: Swim Wraps, of course, our Infinity Necklace, and our Fisherman's Anklet. You're happiest and sportiest when you're in the water; let us help you look and feel your best as well. 

Bronwen jewelry active jewelry anklet waterproof jewelry

Itching to dip your feet in the water? Let those feet look their finest, complemented by a Bronwen anklet. If you've never been an anklet wearer, it takes a little bit of a perspective shift to take the plunge to accessorizing your ankles, but once you make the switch you'll never go back (at least, not until it's time to clamp those ankles into stiff old ski boots again next winter...). For novices we recommend the sweet and delicate Daisy Chain Anklet. Experienced wearers should try our Thai Trail Anklet. And experts can skip straight to one of our faceted Czech glass bead Solstice Anklets. We should warn you, though; the difference between a novice anklet person and an experienced anklet person is just one beautiful anklet. 

Along with water gals everywhere, Bronwen Jewelry celebrates spring. What will you wear when you take that first plunge?

bronwen jewelry waterproof jewelry active jewelry

           
Posted in Blog By Bronwen Jewelry
5 Inspiring Olympic Women

5 Inspiring Olympic Women

3/12/2018 2:44 PM

by Ashley Lodato

The 2018 Winter Olympics are long over, but like any good amateur sports showcase, the PyeongChang Olympics did not disappoint. We love the theater of the Olympics, the backstories, the tales of overcoming challenges, the pursuit of dreams, and  the displays of truly amazing willpower, grit, and talent. We tear up when the torch is lit, we gasp at surprise endings. We feel unified in our national pride, drawn together by our armchair warrior status in support of the people who followed such different paths than we did. 

But most of all, we love the unabashed athletic prowess of these girls and women who are not afraid to be strong. That's right: strong. Because no matter whether you're a tiny teenage figure skater or a burly slalom skier, if you've made it to the Olympics, one of your inherent qualities is your strength. 

Let's take a look at some of the Olympians we at Bronwen Jewelry admire--because let's face it, these gals are as beautiful, strong, unique, and resilient as everything in our Active Line of jewelry.

1 and 2: Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall

If you missed Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall's historic gold medal finish in the Nordic team spring freestyle race, you'd better watch it now. Go ahead, we'll wait. 

jessie diggins kikkan Randall Nordic skiing bronwen jewelry active jewelry

Got it? We think you'll agree that this race was a real knuckle-biter, and any enthusiastic screaming of "Go Jessie" that issued forth from your mouth was well-justified. Kikkan and Jessie became the first ever--let that sink in a moment, first EVER--American women to win a medal in a Nordic skiing event in the Olympics. And it was a freaking GOLD medal, people! We hardly even need mention that their gold is only the second EVER medal won in a Nordic event by an American; the last was in 1976, Bill Koch's silver medal. 

Randall and Diggins are tough gals on skinny skis, but both have more than a touch of feminine in them. Should we ever get the chance to accessorize them, here's what we'd put on them: Tiny Charm Snowflake Necklace (of course!), Gold Eclipse Earrings (because that photo-finished eclipsed all other Olympic moments!), Beleza Bangles (sweet, yet sturdy as all get-out, just like these gals), and Mixed Metal Star Rings (because these skiers are truly Nordic stars)

bronwen jewelry active jewelry water friendly jewelry artisan jewelry

3: Evgenia Medvedeva

Medvedeva is an 18-year-old Russian powerhouse figure skater who has been dominating the world scene for 3 years, including winning a silver medal at the 2018 Olympics. She's got an unusual combination of graceful artistry and raw, explosive power, which makes her performances athletically and aesthetically inspiring to watch. 

evgenia medvedeva figure skating olympics bronwen jewelry active jewelry

Medvedeva has been described--in entirely loving terms--as a "goth jock weirdo," which gives us a special affinity for her. This is a gal who is not afraid to be who she is at her core, both on and off the ice. Medvedeva leverages the drama and emotion of skating with what some might call a morbid obsession with mortality. Her routines have featured unorthodox elements such as audio recordings from 9/11 news broadcasts, a Chopin piece associated with the Holocaust, and the sounds of an approaching train in the Anna Karenina soundtrack. Her jumps are death-defying, her spins are killer, and her overall effect is simply full of life. 

How would we style Medvedeva's jewelry? On the ice, we'd go Tiny Charm all the way, for elegant simplicity in a sweat-proof design. Tiny Charm Arrowhead Necklace (she's just as swift and sharp), Tiny Charm Feather Earrings (she floats down from her jumps), and Toltec Rings (mixed metals are edgy, just like Medvedeva). Off the ice, definitely an ear jacket, such as the Nefertiti or the Arrowhead; the Beaded Aurelia Necklace, and a Condesa Cuff. 

bronwen jewelry active jewelry water friendly jewelry artisan jewelry

4. Kim Boutin

Canadian speedskater Kim Boutin has only been on the international racing circuit for 4 years, but she's been a frequent visitor to the podium in that short time, By 2015, she was ranked 7th in the world and was named Speed Skating Canada's Rising Star of the Year. 

kim Boutin speedskater 2018 olympics bronwen jewelry active jewelry

In PyeongChang, Boutin finished 4th in the 500m final, but ended up winning the bronze medal after a South Korean athlete was disqualified for interfering. Instead of being allowed to bask in her glory, however, Boutin was subjected to an onslaught of abuse and threats from angry Korean fans. We respect Boutin for honoring the spirt of competition and handling an uncomfortable situation with grace and dignity. 

Boutin comes across as a no-frills kind of gal, but we've heard that in her spare time she enjoys painting and knitting, so we know she has the soul of an artist. That's why we'd choose some of Bronwen's more unique artisan jewelry to style her, starting with our Artisan B line. We think she'd look stunning in our Amulet Necklace, accentuated by one of our Leather Cuff Bracelets and a pair of Amazon Woman Earrings, underscoring the brave and strong woman she is.

bronwen jewelry active jewelry water friendly jewelry artisan jewelry

5. Simidele Adeagbo

Simidele Adeagbo is not only a lifelong athlete with an impressive history of achievement, but she's also a trailblazer in the world of winter sports. Adeagbo was the first Nigerian athlete to compete at the 2018 Olympics and the first African or Black female to compete in the skeleton (the terrifying sport that involves lying face down and headfirst on a skeleton sled and hurtling down an icy track) at the Winter Olympics. 

simidele adeagbo skeleton sled 2018 olympics bronwen jewelry active jewelry

In PyeongChang, Adeagbo finished 20th overall with the 3rd best start time, but an even bigger distinction was being selected to carry the national flag and represent Team Nigeria in the closing ceremonies. Says Adeagbo, “It was an incredible honor to be selected as the flag bearer and represent the success of Nigeria during the Olympics and show all Nigerians what’s possible through sport. It was an amazing end to a powerful experience that I will never forget.

Adeagbo wants to see "strong, smart, vivacious, courageous, beautiful and ambitious women unapologetically blazing a trail in sports." She's certainly serving as a role model in this area. So we'd accessorize Adeagbo with jewelry that says "Look out, here I come." Aztec Silverstack RingsThai Trail Anklet, Todos Leather Necklace, and Bar Drop Earrings. Oh yes, Adeagbo sets the bar.

bronwen jewelry active jewelry water friendly jewelry artisan jewelry

You go, girls. 

           
Posted in Blog By Bronwen Jewelry
5 Reasons to Love Bend

5 Reasons to Love Bend

3/2/2018 11:55 AM

by Ashley Lodato

If you're smitten with Bend, Oregon, you're not alone. No matter the season, Bend is a sweet spot to spend some time in--a high desert mountain town with both an urban vibe and a small town feel. And for good reason! Not only is there much to see and do in Bend, but if you just feel like doing a whole lot of nothing, it's a great place for that as well. Here are just 5 of the many reasons to love Bend:

1) A River Runs Through It

How many towns do you know that have a river flowing right through the middle of town? Just imagine--this north-flowing river, critical habitat to salmon and other fish, offers abundant opportunities for recreation (rafting! kayaking or SUPing at the Bend Whitewater Park! fishing!) as well as the chance to get involved in protecting and restoring it. 

Bronwen Jewelry Deschutes River

The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (which Bronwen Jewelry proudly supports) seeks to enhance and restore Central Oregon's world-class rivers by "protecting and enhancing clean water, improving native vegetation and promoting the kinds of stewardship activities that seek to balance the human and ecological needs in local communities." Learn more about restoration priorities here. And while you're wearing your Tiny Charm Wave, Waterweave Braceletor any other piece of Bronwen Jewelry, know that you are contributing to river health in Central Oregon.

2) A Bicycle Built for Two

Yeah, ok, most of us would agree that a bicycle built for one is a lot more satisfying, but whether you're a solo or a tandem cyclist, Bend has something for you. One of the driving factors of moving Bronwen Jewelry’s studio from Berkeley to Bend in 2012 was the proximity to world-class biking. Mountain biking, road biking, fat tires, cruising around on townies and electric bikes, and hauling cargo bikes with kids—you name it, Bend loves its cyclists, and the resident and visiting cyclists who come from all over the world love Bend.

Our love of cycling inspired us to become members of the Central Oregon Trails Alliance (COTA). COTA constructs and maintains human-powered multi-use trails and promotes safe and quality mountain biking experiences throughout Central Oregon. Bronwen Jewelry joined COTA not only because its founders are avid users of the trails and want to contribute to their maintenance and care, but also because we are passionate about outdoor recreation in general and stand behind COTA’s mission of enhancing the outdoor experience.

Bronwen Jewelry Downtown Bend Oregon

Like any good mountain biking community, Bend offers easy access to a vast network of trails. Many Bend residents work a full day and still have time for an epic ride after work, due to the ease of getting on the trails. While we at Bronwen Jewelry can't quite manage daily rides, we do jump at the chance to get out on some of our favorite trails whenever possible, such as Marvin's Garden.

For bike rentals or purchases, visit two Bend retailers whose support of bicycle sports is unparalleled: Pine Mountain Sports and Bend Electric Bikes. Both shops promote outdoor cycling and are great shops to rent or buy the bike that suits your needs.

At Bronwen Jewelry we’re all about cycles: the moon, the seasons, even the pattern of regularly repeated events we engage in, from Bend’s First Fridays to the annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. And yes, the rotation of those wheels on the bike of our choosing. At Bronwen Jewelry, we like to keep the wheels spinning. And as new ideas roll in, we make fabulous new products (like our Tiny Charm and Active Jewelry lines) available to you. 

3) Downtown, Everything's Waiting for You

Bend's downtown scene is both bustling and friendly. You could spend every night for a month eating out in different restaurants and still not hit them all, but you'd sure have a rewarding culinary trip in the process. Some of our favorites are Zydeco Kitchen (northwest cuisine with a southern twist), Barrio (Latin-inspired), Mother's Downtown Kitchen (fresh, healthy, seasonally diverse), and 900 Wall (modern American).  Crow's Feet Commons has an incredible backdrop of Mirror Pond and is a lovely place to sit in the sun overlooking the river, sipping a cider, coffee, beer, or wine. And you'll want to schedule a stop at the landmark Deschutes Brewery--the oldest of Bend's breweries in a burgeoning craft beer industry. 

Between stops for sustenance and libation, you can visit Bend's fun and funky downtown shops--like Bronwen Jewelry for example! Bend Store carries local and regional products, Ju-bee-lee is a women's lifestyle and accessories boutique, Kitchen Complements is a wonderland of housewares, and Bendy Dog is a canine lover's delight. And those are just a few of the many places to tickle your fancy in downtown Bend. 

Bronwen Jewelry Downtown Bend Oregon

Whether you're out on the town straight from a bike ride or all dolled up and ready for some nightlife, you'll feel especially put-together in one of our Artisan B necklaces or handcrafted sterling silver or gold earrings. In the summer months, you'll really shimmer in our beaded anklets.

If you've never been in a historic soaking pool, you'll want to visit the hot pool at St. Francis McMenamins, especially in the colder months. Soft, buoyant water cradles soakers while they gaze around at the shimmering turquoise tilework and up above at the open sky above. Time spent in this sparkling gem is both relaxing and invigorating, and followed by a glass of wine constitutes all you need for a full evening of activity. Best of all, any of Bronwen Jewelry's active line of bracelets, necklaces, and earrings can withstand the soaking pools, providing you with glimmer and gleam while you're in the water.

4) The Call of the Wild

Downtown Bend is captivating, but we're guessing that like us, you're enchanted with the great outdoors. And that's why visiting Bend is so appealing. Not only can you access incredible mountain biking trails, but you also have the Mt. Bachelor front and backcountry just outside of town. Are you an alpine skier? How does 4000 skiable acres and 3365' of vertical drop sound to you? Prefer Nordic? We've got you covered with 21 varied trails. You can hike to Mt. Bachelor's summit in the summer, or explore the high alpine Cascades Lakes

Bronwen Jewelry Bend Oregon

Accessorizing for mountain adventure is simple: Tiny Charm Snowflake for winter, Tiny Charm Dandelion or Fish for summer. And the all-seasons, salt/sweat/water friendly Tiny Charm Mountain or Landscape Mountain necklaces look and feel great any time of year. 

Bend Oregon Bronwen Jewelry

5) Get Your Groove On

Bend's yoga scene rivals that of bigger cities, without all the highfalutin attitude. In Bend, we do yoga for flexibility, calm, strength, and focus. Bend's yoga classes are well-attended by men and women alike--which as any yogi knows, is quite unusual. Groove Yoga has terrific teachers, loud music and sweaty yoga. Mmm, good! We recommend our Seated Lotus Necklace to help you find your center during one of these yoga sessions. For traditional Ashtanga, The Yoga Lab has some of the best instruction on the west coast, and fellow yogis will be dazzled by your Lotus Pod Necklace.

Oh, yes, we love Bend--you will too.

Bronwen Jewelry Bend Oregon Yoga

           
Posted in Blog By Bronwen Jewelry
Boat-Worthy Baubles for the Minimalist Mama

Guestblog by Brittany Meyers

Follow her journeys in sailing and motherhood at www.windtraveler.net

I was always envious of my friends who would pair their jewelry with their outfits and swap it out day to day. Earrings, necklaces and bracelets would be changed out at whim, matching their clothes and mood. Try as I might, I could never be that girl. When it came to 'bling", low maintenance had always been my default. I never quite had the wherewithal and discipline to swap out jewelry and change it, let alone store it properly, so I usually went without. When I moved aboard a sailboat to travel and live in 2010, however, low maintenance became not only a necessity but a blessing.

Bronwen Jewelry WindTraveler Sailing Family

Life on a cruising sailboat, while it conjures up images of far flung islands, azure waters, and private beaches (all of which are true, mind you!) is also a lot of hard work. My husband and I sailed our little ship from the fresh waters of Lake Michigan all the way to the palm lined shores of Trinidad and back to the British Virgin Islands, where we now reside. While we enjoyed many of the perks one can imagine that come with traveling by boat, we had to give up a lot to enjoy them.

Bronwen Jewelry WindTraveler Sailing Family

We were forced to become skilled in all areas of boat maintenance: electrical, plumbing, and shipwright. When something went wrong on the water we had only ourselves to rely on and, as such, we became a very self-sufficient ship. We also had to give up many of the creature comforts that most people take for granted day to day. Our laundry and dishes were done by hand, we had no refrigerator those first couple years, and television became a thing of the past. Furthermore, we had no choice but to convert to minimalism (not easy for my non-minimalist nature!) Whatever we owned had to fit in a tiny floating home smaller than the average living room. The popular sailing adage goes like this: “A place for everything and everything in it's place”. It was our mantra to keep order because in a small space, a mess becomes a mess very quickly. Every item that came on board had to serve at least two purposes or else it was deemed 'unnecessary'. Life became a lot more simple, and a lot less cluttered - which was a gift in and of itself. The benefits of minimizing were felt almost instantly, and shedding most of our land-based possessions allowed us the freedom to be out from underneath mindless clutter and noise that we had accumulated on land.

Bronwen Jewelry WindTraveler Sailing Family

Despite paring down to the essentials, a girl still wants to be girly from time to time, amiright? I didn’t want to toss the razor and go completely without feeling beautiful just because I was a roving sea gypsy. I have always loved funky bracelets, which is an easy way to accessorize, and was constantly on the hunt during our travels. While I'd find interesting adornments here and there, I learned quickly that they were rarely made to last. It became abundantly clear that I needed to find the right kind of jewelry. I wanted pieces that were not going to ruin with every day wear, that were up to the task of being worn by an active woman, and - most importantly - would survive regular dousing in the great big blue. Turns out, this is a tall order! I would find pieces only to have the clasps turn to rust and disintegrate, the strings fade and weaken, and not a single piece I found could handle every day wear and tear. It seemed to me that most of what I was finding was meant for the women I envied years before; those who had the discipline to do the jewelry removal ritual every night and tend to their jewels with TLC. I was not, and will never be that person. I was back at square one and wondered if I would always be doomed to wear macrame friendship bracelets for life...(Don't get me wrong, I do love me some friendship bracelets but I am pushing 40 over here!)

Enter Bronwen jewelry!

Bronwen Jewelry WindTraveler Sailing Family

When I discovered Bronwen sometime during that first year of sailing, I was thrilled. Here was a jeweler who seemed to be making pieces JUST FOR ME! Interesting, beautiful, easy to wear and *durable*! I had never before found such high-quality artisan pieces meant for every day wear in the elements. I placed my first order and have been hooked ever since. I am now very happy to be a walking, talking, Bronwen Jewelry ad who has converted more than a few active friends to the line.

Bronwen Jewelry WindTraveler Sailing Family

Seven years later, my husband and I still live aboard a sailboat, albeit a bigger one. We are still passionate about the lifestyle and travel, but have settled for the time being in the British Virgin Islands. During our travels we added three little girls to our motley crew with the birth of our first daughter, Isla, and our twins, Haven and Mira, just under two years later. We enjoy a relatively simple life of sand and sun on our island of Tortola where we run Aristocat Charters Daysail company.

Bronwen Jewelry WindTraveler Sailing Family

A lot has changed in our life but a few things remain the same: our passion for the water, our love of island life, and - of course - my loyalty to Bronwen Jewelry. I still have pieces on my wrist that made our maiden voyage on our first boat over seven years ago, and they look the same. I might never be the girl who changes jewels to match her outfits or mood, but I can wear beautiful pieces every. single. day. and know that they are made to last - and that's just perfect for this boat sailing, water-loving, minimalist mama of three.

           
Posted in Blog By Bronwen Jewelry
Lipstick - If that'll get you out the door!

By Krissy Moehl

We are in it. The Pacific Northwest is a lovely place to live, no doubt. But, and there is a but, it means you have to endure the winter. The word winter can drum up images of snow, knitted beanies, warm coats, frozen lakes, blue skies and quiet landscapes. Winter in the PNW however has its own flare. As one ex aptly described it, “it’s just different shades of grey. Grey water. Grey sky. Grey roads.” And it’s dark. The sun doesn’t necessarily come up, but at it’s worst, it gets light around 8am and is dark by 4pm.

 Bronwen Jewelry Krissy Moehl

Because of this I feel PNW’ers are hearty people. They endure and find ways to bring light to the drab winter months. For me, this winter I tackled training for a 100-mile race that will be March 9. I knew the training would be hard; it is 100 miles for goodness sakes. What I didn’t fully appreciate was the extra psychological toll the grey and dark would take. How the cold, windy, wet days would attempt to snuff out my spirit. How having to run with a headlamp at 4pm would create intense cravings to cuddle on the couch, by the fire, with my pup, and never leave.

Training through the winter is showing me my hearty PNW side. My trick to endure is to add some sparkle and treats to the miles. I’m a big proponent of finding extra motivation by stimulating my senses. Following are three stories to back up this sensory boosting technique and are reminders as I continue to endure.

 Bronwen Jewelry Krissy Moehl Active Jewelry

Tasty treats from the local bakery.

I love baked goods! They are delicious to my taste buds. But I realize that for me they don’t always sit so well on a normal day and often leave me wishing I hadn’t indulged. This is a personal realization, and is not the case for everyone. But when I’m training long distances…??? These indulgences are a necessity! The calories burn in a way that isn’t normal, and the feeling of soul food filling my belly and recharging my spirit creates an awesome reward system for my hard work. The pure enjoyment of walking into the bakery, taking in the buttery smells and choosing one, two or more items from the case all add to the reward package.

 

Lipstick if that’ll get you out the door.

While leading a group run for a New York based running store, I had a woman approach me to ask a question about training. There were about 40-50 runners crammed in the basement running section of the store. In preparation for a 45 minute run around the local neighborhood we gathered there to casually stretch and discuss the route. I was introduced to the crowd as the guest athlete, Patagonia ambassador and ultrarunner; if anyone had any questions that is what I was there for. This standout woman had to maneuver through the 4-way racks tightly packed with running shorts and shirts to connect with me, and as she made the last bend my smile widened. Her headband, matched her wristbands which both matched her deep red lipstick. She wore colorful capris and a coordinating tank top. She looked amazing and I told her so before she could ask her question. Instead of asking her question, sidetracked by my comment I imagine, she launched into her rational. “Girl, sometimes it is all I can do to get out the door for a run. I figure if I look good, I’ll feel good. I carry this lipstick with me and I’m not shy to reapply out on the run if I need a little boost.” Ya Sista. I’m more of a chapstick girl and it is always in my pack.

 

Fun sparkles in some durable jewelry.

When I started this sport (2001) all of the clothing options were basically men’s designs sized down to fit women. And to be honest, they didn’t really “fit” the female body. They draped, hung and basically covered us up. Thankfully this has changed over the decades (gulp, decades??) and the colors, design lines, and functional fit for women has greatly improved. In those early years jewelry was my effort to add some femininity to the otherwise one-size-fits-all approach. Small posts or simple hoops were the only functional pieces I could find.

 Bronwen Jewelry Krissy Moehl

Luckily, just in this last year I teamed up with a woman that gets it. Fun sparkles that can endure the dirt. Running is a dirty endeavor, let’s face it. At a minimum, if you are getting after it, you will be sweaty, salty and stinky by the end. And trail running takes it to another level adding dirt, dust, mud, water crossings, etc. Patagonia has up’ed their game and added great fit and fabrics. Ultimate Direction Hydration packs have shifted pocket features and harness shape to conform to the varying female bodies. And Bronwen brings sparkle to it all. Some of my runs are as long as most people sit behind a desk on a standard workday. When I’m getting dressed for these multi-hour runs I like to add the sparkle. Chances are I won’t see anyone else out there where I’m going, but it’s not for anyone else. The necklace displaying a charm of mountains bouncing around my neck reminds me of my boyfriend, he bought it for me before I actually met Bronwen, and the support he gives even when I’m out there solo. These necklaces and earrings have seen me through some of the toughest 100-mile training I’ve endured to date (see the upcoming Trail Sisters Blog post). And I’m so thankful for the motivation the sparkles add to get me out there and keep me going.

 

The 100-mile race is March 9 in China (Gaoligong 165km by UTMB). The grit I found this winter will be a huge piece in finishing this endeavor. I am ready to toe the line, to take everything I’ve learned and pushed through, and put it to the test. And I will do it with sparkle both on my ears, around my neck and in my eyes.

           
Posted in Blog By Bronwen Jewelry
Rock on! Bronwen Jewelry at the Tucson Gem Show

by Ashley Lodato

Until you've visited the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (TGMS) you really can't fully grasp the magnitude of this show. It can be overwhelming even for a veteran participant. Started in the 1970s as a means of uniting the hobby enthusiast, the public, and the curator professionals for discovery and discussion centered around gems and minerals, the TGMS is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world. Tens of thousands of people attend the show. 250 retailers from nearly every country in the world are present. For a week, Tucson lives and breathes gems and minerals. The size and scope of the show are, quite frankly, mind-boggling. 

Bronwen Jewelry Tucson Gem Show

But at Bronwen Jewelry, there's one thing that doesn't boggle our minds, and that's gems! Even just saying the names of some of these stones gives us shivers: Herkimer diamonds, Peruvian opals, rubies. Whether we are buying finished stones like opals and diamonds or raw materials like druzys, crystals, or petrified wood and abalone shells, when we are at the TGMS we are right in our element--sourcing the most beautiful and interesting materials to provide you with unique handmade jewelry

Every year, Bronwen Jewelry staff attend the TGMS to meet face-to-face with our preferred supplies and vendors that we've built relationships with over the past decade, as well as to scope out potential new sources of beads, pendants, cord materials, technologies, tools, and display ideas. We identify beauty and quality and bring them home to you, in the form of our artisan bracelets, earrings, and necklaces.

Bronwen Jewelry

We spend hours combing through special one-of-a-kind gemstones and druzys to find perfect pairs for earrings and necklaces that we sell to our lucky studio shoppers in Bend. Why not just source these gems online? Because the exquisite druzys and other precious gems we use in our artisan jewelry must be hand-selected in order to provide our customers with the high quality beaded bracelets, gemstone earrings, and artisan necklaces they expect from our brand. We have to see and touch these materials to be assured of their integrity. 

Bronwen Jewelry

Oh yeah, we also manage to have a little fun enjoying Tucson's nightlife, when we finally drag ourselves away from the TGMS. After all, at the end of a 12-hour stint of perusing sparkling treasures like you've never imagined, your mind and body need a chance to refresh. But the next day it's back to the TGMS, hands itching to touch Brazilian emeralds, eyes roaming for those perfect pieces of Amazonite, ears open as the sounds of every language imaginable provide a lively backdrop to a virtual feast for the eyes.

Bronwen Jewelry

Jewelry artists aren't the only ones who frequent the TGMS; it's an annual gathering place for rock-hounds as well. Because honestly, where else are you going to find items like 15' tall amethyst towers or petrified woolly mammoth tusks? Lapidary artists (those who form stones and minerals into decorative items) frequent the TGMS to buy their raw materials, hauling away great buys like giant chunks of raw turquoise.

And at the end of the show, we're all exhausted, but we're also infused with imaginative energy. As our thoughts turn toward our return home, our heads brim with ideas for creating new and fresh jewelry that totally rocks.

Bronwen Jewelry

           
Posted in Blog By Bronwen Jewelry
Valentines Day: Wrap Her in Love

by Ashley Lodato

Despite murky origins and abundant legends regarding its namesake, Valentines Day has become unmistakably the holiday of love in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, France, and Australia.

Folklore holds that a 3rd century priest named Valentine was imprisoned--and later martyred--for helping Christians escape from Roman prisons. Before he was put to death, he wrote a love letter to a young girl who had visited him during his confinement and signed it with an expression that has been written on millions of cards and chalky-tasting heart-shaped candies ever since, "From your Valentine." And in the subsequent centuries, poor ill-fated Valentine has been steadfastly promoted as a romantic hero, with cards, candy, flowers, and jewelry being gifted from person to person, acknowledging the simple joy of loving one another. 

True or not, we'll subscribe to that legend. Because with so much hate in this world, shouldn't we all seize every possible opportunity to celebrate love? To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr, on Valentines Day we all choose to "stick with love."

Flowers fade and candy goes straight to your (insert body part where empty calories tend to take their toll on you), but Bronwen Jewelry lasts forever--just like the love you feel for the most special people in your life. There really is no better gift than a piece of artisan jewelry, especially when it allows you to express love in so many different ways.

Let's reference the Greeks here for a moment and categorize your love. (Merely to help you organize your jewelry shopping, of course.)

Platonic/Familiar Love

For your assistant or child's teacher, a Tiny Charm Happy Heart tells them "you're special." Your mother or daughter will love the Bitty Heart Ring because it reminds them of you every time they glance at their hands. And co-workers or girlfriends will know that the Heart Post Earrings you surprise them with say "you're close to my heart." These staple pieces complement any wardrobe, are swim/sweat/shower friendly, and, like all Bronwen Jewelry, are protected through our lifetime warranty.

Bronwen Jewelry Valentines Jewelry

Erotic/Romantic Love

A classic--but never cliche--Valentines Day gift is a piece of jewelry, often given as a surprise. If you're ever going to delight her with a gift when she least expects it, Valentines Day is your big chance. Stash a Pyrite Triple Necklace in her underwear drawer; slip our Huichol Fiero Earrings Grande into her makeup bag. Just think how thrilled she'll be to see an Ombre Cuff in aquagunmetal, or pewter sitting on the dashboard of her car, or a pair of Cascade Drop Earrings in rainbow moonstone, chalcedony, pyrite, or lemon topaz dangling from her rearview mirror. Or when she arrives at work and sees our Pool Drop Earrings  sitting on her desk (with matching necklace, for bonus points). Catching her off-guard might take some stealth, but the reward of seeing her expression will be well-worth the effort. 

Bronwen Jewelry Valentines Day Active Jewelry

Now let's just cut to the chase here. Let's say you really want to ramp it up this year. You want to give a gift that without fail will show the woman in your life just how unique, special, and beautiful she is to you. Tiny Charms are sweet and Ribbon Wraps encircle her with your love, but nothing says "I'm yours" like our Huichol Beaded Ombre Necklace and Isis Earrings in gold. 

She'll feel like the luckiest girl in the world...and if all goes right, you might get lucky too (unlike our jewelry, warranty on luck not available).

Bronwen Jewelry Ribbon Bracelets

Galentines Love

In 2010, Parks and Recreation's Leslie (Amy Poehler) threw a "Galentines Day" party--a chance for ladies to celebrate ladies. Since then, the concept of Galentines Day has transcended TV and entered mainstream popular culture, with gals far and wide getting together with their besties to honor female friendships.

Your best friends are the ones who've known you since braces and culottes, the ones whose shoulders you cried on when your heart was broken, the ones you called when you got your first real job, the ones who will tell you honestly what you look like and how you're behaving, the ones who know everything about you...and still love you in spite of--or because of--it.

And you love them too. So show them, with one of our signature pieces of artisan jewelry. Your sporty friend will love a bracelet from our Active Jewelry line. The arty pal will swoon over one of our artisan necklaces. And what woman would ever turn up her nose at a new pair of gold or silver post earrings?

Bronwen Jewelry Valentines Day

Valentines Day gifts don't have to break the bank. Sweet, simple tokens of love are often the most appreciated and most versatile offerings on this day of widespread affection. Whether the woman in your life is the one who has been there for you all along, the one you used to squabble with but now adore, or the one you plan to spend the rest of your life with, she will be delighted with a piece of hand-crafted jewelry. And like your love, everything at Bronwen Jewelry is designed to last a lifetime.

           
Posted in Blog By Bronwen Jewelry
5 Jewelry Pieces to Invest in This Year

by Ashley Lodato

Have you taken a breather yet? After the flurry of the holidays--shopping and crafting and sorting and wrapping and taping and shipping and returning and exchanging--you feel, quite rightfully, all gifted out. You're ready to curl up and not think about gifts for quite some time, right?

Wrong! Because there's someone you forgot to shop for. Someone who is always thinking of others, always making sure to gift just the right things to the people close to them.

We're talking about you, of course. It's finally time to take a moment to think only of yourself. And what better way to treat yourself than a piece--or 5--of Bronwen Jewelry? In your honor, as a token acknowledgment of all the things you do, we've put together a list of our top 5 favorite pieces to invest in for the new year.

Bronwen Jewelry Active Jewelry Necklace Rings Bracelets

These pieces are classic, timeless, and versatile; they dress up everything from jeans to cocktail wear. Rather than being trendy, these pieces are the kind that remain in vogue no matter the decade or prevailing style. Which is a good thing, because like all of Bronwen's handcrafted artisan necklacesbracelets, and earrings, these items are designed to last a lifetime (or be repaired/replaced through our Lifetime Warranty). The skilled craftsmanship ensures the pieces won't break easily, and neither will they break the bank.

1. Glasswrap Bracelet

The equation for our Glasswrap Bracelet is 2 wraps x 4 strands of gorgeousness = 1 bracelet you'll be loathe to remove. Hand-braided shimmering Czech glass beads and mixed sterling silver and 24k gold vermeil faceted spacers give these bracelets versatility as well as flair. These water-friendly beauties have an adjustable closure, ensuring a perfect fit on either your wrist or your neck, when worn as a bold choker. With Persian blueaquaturquoisechampagnesmoky topazjade, and olive  beads to choose from, you may have trouble selecting your favorite. Put the rest on your list for next year!

Bronwen Jewelry Glasswrap Bracelet

2. Standard Hoops

The only thing “standard” about our Standard Issue Hoops is the fact that once you’ve got them, they’re likely to become part of your standard daily ensemble. Hand-forged and stamped sterling silver or gold loops are elegant and slightly bohemian, with an artisan uniqueness that can’t be achieved through casting. Two hoop sizes gives you options for understated or bold looks.

Bronwen Jewelry Earrings Hoops

3. Isis & Trail Necklaces

We call our Isis Necklace “the best little layering necklace in the world” and we stand by our claim; it really is the goddess of all necklaces. Unlike its namesake, the Isis Necklace won’t help you enter the afterlife, but it sure will shine brightly on your neck during your time on earth. This lightweight, water-friendly circle of 24k gold vermeil spacers and sterling silver teardrops makes a path around your neck and delivers a mixed-metal pop of pizazz, either as a freestanding piece or as a complement to one of your favorite active necklaces. If you like the Isis, check out our Pyrite Isis, Lapis Isis, and Turquoise Isis as well.

Bronwen Jewelry Turquoise Trail Necklace Gemstones

The Trail Necklace is the younger sister of the Isis; same glimmer, same classic circle, just with smaller sterling silver nuggets. Don’t let the Trail’s delicate appearance deceive you—this baby can withstand the rigors of water, sand, sweat, and anything else you subject your body to while you wear it. Like the Isis, it comes in Lapis, Turquoise, and Pyrite, making your decision just that much tougher.

4. Toltec Set of 3 Rings or Bronwen's Daily Bands

Beyoncè says “If you like it then you better put a ring on it,” and you like your finger, right? So you know what to do—put a ring on it! Even better, put 3 rings on it! We recommend our Toltec  Stacking Rings in sterling silver, 24k gold vermeil, and rose gold. The contrasting metals and patterns are an enchanting nod to early civilizations and indigenous tribes of ancient Mexican and Native American cultures.

Bronwen Jewelry Rings

If clean lines are more your style, echoes of the Toltec collection can be found in Bronwen’s Daily Bands: another stacking set of 3 bands in sterling silver, 24k gold vermeil, and satin rose gold, but without the intricate patterns. These 3 minimalist rings deliver glimmer and gleam without the bling.

5. Pool Drop Necklace or Pinnacle Necklace

Our Pool Drop Necklace is truly a pièce de résistance; a statement necklace with the hidden superpower of being sweat, swim, and shower friendly. The secret weapon of active jewelry, the Pool Drop is fully adjustable; slide the sterling silver or 24k gold vermeil pendant up for active pursuits and then back down as low as you dare for evening wear.

Similar to the Pool Drop but with straighter lines for an edgier look, the Pinnacle Necklace is, well, at the top of its game. This is another foundation piece that can be worn for days on end, through wind and water, sweat and shower. Wear it tight while you run, spin, or swim; wear it long and layered with another necklace when you want to cause heads to turn. Sterling silver and 24k gold options give you the choice to go classic with gold or gypsy with silver.

Bronwen Jewelry Active Necklace

 

And don't ever forget about the option of layering a Tiny Charm Necklace with other necklaces. These sweet and functional little charms can pretty much go anywhere and do anything—just like you.

Ready to invest in yourself yet?

Go on, treat yourself. You deserve it.

Bronwen Jewelry Tiny Charm Necklace

           
Posted in Blog By Bronwen Jewelry

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