Jewelry designer, Susan Domelsmith of Dirty Librarian Chains crafts handmade jewelry and elegant accessories out of second market materials from past jewelry factories on the eastern seaboard. Materials dating back to as early as the sixties have found new ways to shine through in Susan’s collections. EcoSalon caught up with Susan to discover more about her craft, upcycling process and made in NYC appeal.
Juliette Donatelli: Your line is produced in New York City?
Susan Domelsmith: Yes, by me.
JD: Do you do all the labor yourself?
SD: Yeah pretty much. I have a few assistants that come in and I teach them as well. It’s like continuing the manufacturing process and trying to keep it here.
But I also work with materials that were primarily made in the United States. I shop at factories that have shut down in Providence Rhode Island, and components from the sixties to the eighties. Second market
JD: Are all of those factories closed down now?
SD: A lot of the production has moved overseas since primarily the mass market stuff is made in China now. But I feel like there is a resurgence where people are starting to care more where their products are made and who makes them. So I feel like there are some new ones that are opening back up.
JD: When bring your handmade jewelry to a buyer or the larger public, and they find out it is made in NYC, is that an appeal to them?
SD: Yes definitely. I do a lot of markets where I am selling straight to the customer and they definitely love meeting the maker and knowing there is a nice person who made the jewelry, infusing it with good energy, rather than someone being forced into this kind of way to make a living. Which you know, some people still have to do in other parts of the world.
If they can identify with the way of life of the maker then I think that’s nice for the customer.
JD: Are more jewelers using reclaimed materials?
SD: Yes. When I first started — I’ve had my line for almost ten years — so when I first started I saw that was not really something people were doing. But it has definitely become more of a common way of designing and producing jewelry. I am really happy a lot more people are taking the more environmentally conscious route, because then it takes all the chemicals that are involved in plating and the mining of the materials as well — it takes that out of the equation, and it is still nice things that are beautiful to wear. So I am happy that that’s becoming more of a movement.
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