by Michell Spoden
The origination of China was produced by the Chinese which came from clay in the hills. The material called China is also known as Kaolin and was used to make pottery in first century A.D. Of course its beauty and applications were adopted by the Europeans soon after that and, today it is known worldwide for its beauty and value. Today this beautiful medium is being used by a very creative artist for making jewelry. She is able to create beauty and recycle at the same time. Please welcome Diana Jamison, the owner of Vintage Belle Broken China Jewelry.
Michell: Diana, I’d first like to know what made you decide to start making jewelry out of china.
Diana: During college, I worked at a shop that made similar jewelry but they used copper tape and solder – similar to how stained glass is made) for their settings. After college, I started working in accounting and really missed making jewelry. I decided to start my own line but I knew that I wanted to use sterling’s silver, so I took a silversmithing class and starting making my own sterling settings.
Michell: Have you always been an artistic person? Were you practicing some other art form previous to your current creations?
Diana: I’ve always been artistic. My grandmother Bonnie was a wonderful painter and I credit her as my creative inspiration (thank you Grandma!). I’ve worked in paint, collage, mosaic, and other mediums; but I’ve found the jewelry most gratifying because it helps people connect with their own family heritage. For example, we recently had a customer purchase a charm featuring her grandmother’s pattern. She tied it in her wedding bouquet as she walked down the aisle as a way to honor her grandmother’s memory during her wedding ceremony. We hear touching stories like that all the time and I feel truly blessed and grateful to be a part of helping people honor their loved ones.
Michell: Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
Diana: Honestly, I love my life now and I hope I’ll be doing more of the same just in a bigger way. I would love to help more people discover the beauty in every day. We currently reach over 80,000 Facebook fans daily with beautiful posts that inspire and entertain. From our blog articles about rose gardening, to photos of amazing collections and inspirational quotes, our Facebook fans are awesome and they love sharing and receiving the daily love. Beyond expanding our audience, I also hope to offer a much larger variety of patterns so that I can help more people enjoy the beauty of broken china jewelry.
Michell: Do you consider yourself to be a humanitarian?
Diana: Absolutely. My husband and I regularly support World Vision through child sponsorship and micro-lending through Kiva. We also choose different charities to give to each month, that is meaningful to us – most recently the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and the Global Medical Relief Fund. We also volunteer in our community and look forward to expanding our giving as our business grows.
Michell: If there is anything you could do in your life time what would it be?
Diana: I’m already doing it: building a lasting legacy by raising children – loving, compassionate children.
Michell: Please share with us what the most popular item sold in your collection.
Diana: Royal Doulton’s Old Country Roses pattern pendants. Old Country Rose is the bestselling china pattern in America. It was designed by Harold Hold croft in 1962. It is said that Mr. Holdcroft designed the pattern after enjoying the stunning bounty of an English garden in bloom. People love this vibrant pattern and with our jewelry, they can capture their own bit of an exquisite English garden that will never fade.
Michell: Have you ever considered selling your product on the home shopping network?
Diana: We have thought about it but many of our pieces are unique, and it would be hard to achieve the large quantities that HSN would require to feature an item. We do make duplicates of our most popular items, but only in small numbers because we try to only use damaged china or factory seconds in our work (we don’t want to break perfectly good china).
Michell: Where do you currently get most of the china you use to make your Jewelry? Do you accept donations of broken china?
Diana: We find chipped and broken china all over – antique malls, auction sites and garage sales. We also buy factory seconds directly from some of the manufacturers. We don’t take china donations from people because our china room is literally overflowing (a good problem to have!). We recommend folks with china to donate try to find a local mosaic artist or other artisan that might be able to put their pieces to good use.
Michell: Do you take custom orders to make jewelry from customers’ china?
Diana: No, we do not take custom orders. However, if someone is looking for an item in a particular pattern, we can often make one as a special request based on our current china inventory.
Michell: Do you sell wholesale to shops? Do you have a physical store?
Diana: No, we do not offer wholesale accounts. We do not have a physical store; we sell online only. The best way to find our items is in our Etsy shop at www.vbelle.com
Michell: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
Michell: Thank you very much for telling us about your art and business.
About the Interviewer
Michell Spoden is the author of Stricken Yet Crowned and is also pursuing a transitional housing project for woman with an agricultural aspect. She has a degree in Business Science Administration and is finishing her bachelor’s in Project Management.