What do a converted school bus, Los Angeles, and a pet monkey have to do with jewelry? Everything.
There's an old saying that "you're a product of your environment." If that's true, then no wonder Sarah DeAngelo is such a creative spirit and skilled artisan, keen entrepreneur and risk-taker, master teacher and metalsmith, and oh-so kind and patient. She's been making jewelry for 22 years and never imagined she'd have a successful wholesale and online business, as well as a brick-and-mortar location in Englewood, Colorado.
DeAngelo drew her inspiration from her parents and life experiences, which were somewhat "unusual ..."
On her mom's side, they were in the movie industry; her grandma even won an Oscar for sound editing. On her dad's side, he was "a hippie grassroots kind of vegetarian" who homeschooled DeAngelo and her sister while onboard a converted school bus in Los Angeles. This inspired a sense of exploring a world with no boundaries. In earlier years, her dad lived on Sunset Boulevard and preached the gospel alongside a pet monkey. Pretty wild life.
So walking away from a college degree, benefits, retirement plan, and making the leap into jewelry craftsman and metalworks may have been easier for her than for others, but it was still a significant leap of faith. Not to mention, opening her store in January 2020 (pandemic, anyone?) in downtown Englewood right off of Broadway.
Even more challenging still, she invited the OCN Street Team to learn how to make earrings, and boy, did she have her work cut out for her!
What Our Community Now especially loves about DeAngelo's store is the actual space; the store and the studio bleed into the same space, inviting you into a rare glimpse and age-old practice of true craftsmanship. The trade of a true craftsman is a lost art, replaced by factories of manufactured stamps and jewelry settings, but DeAngelo crafts by hand every single one of her unique jewelry pieces. In her latest collection, she crafted 120 pieces, which include necklaces, bracelets, and rings—they will be available beginning in September through the likes of the Sundance catalog and store, as well as online, in-store, and other nationwide stores.
It all may sound so magical and "pet monkey-like," but part of being a profitable artisan is nailing down your craft to scaleable pieces, collections, and time. Over the past 20+ years, DeAngelo has scaled her creation time for making an average piece to 30 minutes to an hour. For more complicated pieces with stones, it can take 3 to 4 hours. Although, she and her apprentice work very hard to keep it under 20 minutes for wholesale.
The OCN Street Team can attest that it took us far longer to make a pair of earrings with considerable help from Sarah. So, it's totally worth the money to buy handmade and have someone like Sarah make it for you!
DeAngelo has a direct connection between the piece she is creating and the person who is wearing it. The nuances, the unique differences, the personality of a handcrafted piece is what makes it "perfect" much like the person she creates for.
"I make jewelry for a person who wants to feel beautiful just as they are; so it's not the jewelry making them more beautiful or fixing them up. It's really a deeper connection to the beauty that they have. I look at these pieces like talismans for people; when they put them on they feel like the best version of who they already are."
DeAngelo attributes her artistic inspiration to an amalgamation of things from other artists and ancient jewelry like Roman Mediterranean and Native American. But really it's been about absorbing influences over 20 years that she can't really pinpoint the exact source. She suggests that her best ideas come from mistakes: cutting something wrong or dropping things on the floor and liking the colors together.
"It's just about paying attention to what's happening in front of you."
We tend to agree, but we think it might also have something to do with the school bus and the monkey, too!
What's your favorite stone to wear? Do you own a Sarah De'Angelo piece? Share in the comments.