Jewelry by Charlotte Valestra
After retiring form 25 years in the commercial jewelry industry, I decided to take a break from making jewelry. I began to take watercolor classes and won numberous awards. Later I was drawn to the art of assemblage and was successful in that form of art for a number of years, having had a one-woman show in Santa Barbara and having shown work at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. But, jewelry making was always closest to my heart, so I decided to concentrate on that again. Being a bench jeweler for so many years gave me a wealth of experience and a good foundation with which to find my own voice. I could finally make my own designs and incorporate whatever I wanted, and it was a freedom I really enjoyed and still do. I learned the lapidary process and cut and polished my own stones; I use the etching process and also repousse in addition to fabricating all the pieces. All pieces are one of a kind and usually made of silver with maybe a touch of gold or bronze. I have used old German doll parts from WWII and ancient Roman fibula parts from England. New ideas are always evolving and the art of the the "making" brings me great joy.