About the Jewelry
Each piece in these unique collections of designer fashion jewelry is knit by hand with wire and jewels, pearls, shells and other natural elements. Stephanie's distinctive designs evoke images of the sea: a drift net catching a pirate's treasure booty, or a filigree band beset with richly colored, gleaming gems. The handcrafted artisan jewelry's delicate appearance belies its strength and supple nature. Like a finely knit cashmere sweater, the jewelry is incredibly light and moves with you for a custom fit. Stephanie can also craft personalized jewelry to your taste.
Stephanie selects stones, pearls, shells, and coral from all over the globe: petite sundials, mother-of-pearl, and Cebu shells from oceans around the world as well as exquisite lava stones, lapis lazuli, and amazonite from exotic locales — all meticulously sourced and scrutinized for color and character. Stephanie weaves these treasures with special copper based wire, plated with silver and finished with a clear enamel to prevent tarnishing. Clasps, chains, and earring wires are sterling silver, 14k gold-fill or copper.
Every piece of knit jewelry is inspired by the ocean and handmade by the artist in her seaside studio in Pacifica on the Northern California coast.
About the Artist
Stephanie's interest in handcrafted knit jewelry comes from a rich background of fiber knitting. Shortly after the birth of her first son, she joined a few women from the local mother's club who met weekly in a nearby café to knit and chat. As their friendships grew and her skill level improved, Stephanie realized that, for her, knitting was more that just a hobby. She took knitting classes with knitting gurus, including Stitch n' Bitch series author Debbie Stoller, Melissa Leapman and Edie Eckman.
Then, with the re-opening of San Francisco's de Young Museum, Stephanie was deeply moved by the the work of international artist Ruth Asawa's wire sculptures. Inspired by Asawa's work, Stephanie left the museum with a singular focus: to combine metal and knitting in designer fashion jewelry.
All the pieces started to fall together after Stephanie took a class at a knitting conference, followed closely by a family vacation in Hawaii, spent beach-combing and and searching for shells from local merchants. "Less than a year later, 'the weekend' happened," says Stephanie. "First, I was approached about the knit jewelry I was wearing at the museum; next, a woman offered to buy a hand-knit bracelet off my wrist; then I found out that a friend used to work for one of the largest jewelers in San Diego. I was asked to include my handcrafted artisan jewelry in a show of coastal California craftswomen; another friend offered her professional photography services for my portfolio, and yet another girlfriend designed my logo! Whether you believe in the universe giving direction or more simply in the power of connection — Stephanie Hamilton Designs was born."
As she expands her designer fashion jewelry business, Stephanie pays tribute to the different hats she has worn in her life, including her work in corporate finance and her study of Italian Renaissance art and photography at Tufts University.
Above all, her greatest satisfaction comes from designing the knit jewelry — including personalized jewelry. "I love being part of the journey that starts with a single strand of wire and a few jewels and ends with a piece of wearable art that can be worn equally beautifully with a wedding dress or a simple T-shirt and jeans."