Badass Babe Spotlight : Jamie Israel
James Michelle Jewelry was founded in Bend, Oregon, the home of its creator, Jamie Israel, also known to her friends as James. Mother, sister, amazing friend; there are many things that describe James; jewelry designer was not one that anyone had expected. However, as we’ve already determined, life’s twists and turns have a funny way of leading us to paths we had never thought of taking. A new mother to her amazing son, James started feeling that something just wasn’t right, and it wasn’t just an aversion to dirty diapers! Soon it was doctors appointments and stab-in-the-dark diagnosis and the feeling that the mystery illness would never be solved. After being poked and prodded until she felt like a pin cushion an answer was finally found, the mystery illness now had a name, Lyme Disease. Unfortunately, naming the disease didn’t make it go away, and as with many things, sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better. There were wheelchairs, picc lines to deliver antibiotics into the ultimate pumping system, the heart, a broken marriage, and the loss of parents. But through it all, James knew she had to do something that would define her beyond her illness, that would make her memorable for all the right reasons, while allowing her to support herself and her son. So lying in bed one day, watching the antibiotics flow through the IV, she made a necklace from her bedside and posted it online in hopes she could make some money to buy some advil. Little did she know that the seed had just been planted that would eventually grow into James Michelle Jewelry.
That first necklace turned into a second. Silver discs were tossed aside as, ever the perfectionist, she honed her craft. Soon James was branching beyond her initial design, reveling in the feeling of growing a business that she created, literally, with her own two hands. Necklaces were joined by rings, then earrings and bracelets. Finding inspiration from the beautiful surroundings of Central Oregon and her love of the ocean, James Michelle Jewelry again expanded, adding to its core line of hand-stamped jewelryearthy, organic pieces with wistful and minimalist detail, providing that perfect touch, ensuring that they are a favorite accessory, and forever bringing smiles to the people they adorn. Through her jewelry she began healing.
So yes, the twists and turns take us on amazing journeys. Some paths are harder than others, but they have all come together to provide James with an appreciation for life, for people, and for her art. James Michelle Jewelry was born of love, tears, and a basic need for survival. It now represents all of those past struggles, plus hope for the future, stability, and excitement for what path may lie ahead. Lyme is still her constant companion, but she has succeeded it not allowing it to be what defines her. James loves hard, laughs hard, and says a small thanks to God every night for guiding her through those dark hours and leading her to the path of James Michelle Jewelry.
We are excited to welcome the line into the shop at Otium, as we continue to support the good and collaborate with beautiful designers and artisans around the world who share the same values. Have a lovely weekend everyone!