Most little girls love playing in their mother’s and grandmothers’ jewelry boxes, trying on pieces and imagining themselves as grown-ups. When Lori Leavitt looked through her grandmother’s collection of antique jewelry, it lit her imagination differently. With Grandma’s blessing, Leavitt took the jewelry apart and put it back together in new ways, and a lifetime passion was launched.
Still need a Valentine’s Day gift? We found a few perfect pieces for that special personality in your life.
Try the Wild West Cuff Links with Roy Rogers and Lone Ranger pictures, $395
Try the Fast 50 Poker Chip Necklace with engraved clay poker chip, $175
Try the Navigate This Necklace with coral undyed rare beads and compass, $1,995
“I used a lot of antique beads and lockets and things with leaves and pendants and compasses,” Leavitt says.
Although she still uses those things, Leavitt’s work has grown into a full-blown line of bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings and beyond, which has earned accolades from locals and adoration from celebs. The Pepper Pike-based business, launched in 1995, counts Mena Suvari, Sheryl Crow, Penelope Cruz and Brooke Shields as fans.
“I find inspiration in the different seasons I’m working in, in everyday objects, in color,” Leavitt says. “Anything old, I like to make it new.”
The collection is a delightful mélange of styles and colors. Leavitt avidly scours antique stores and estate sales to find the inspirations for her pieces. She finds everything from antique cuff links and buttons to the crystals from vintage chandeliers.
Many are in sterling silver, and some mix silver and gold. With beautiful, fascinating mementos of yesterday nestled in artfully crafted, modern settings, Leavitt’s pieces are marriages of unexpected details and juxtaposition.
“They are feminine pieces that you can wear every day, and mix in with your own jewelry,” Leavitt says. “You can mix and match the pieces, and layer them ... everything is different.”