Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Moms are the BEST!

Check out this fun email exchange!

(I changed their names to protect privacy.)

I received the earrings in the attached photo as a gift and don't know who they're from. They're beautiful! I want to thank whoever sent them. Do you know the name or any information about the person who ordered these?   


Hi Ashley,  
What a lovely surprise!! They did not leave any information with their order, except their email address. I am contacting them to make sure it's okay if I forward it to you… just in case they want to stay a secret admirer ;) 
~ Variya  

Hello []
Ashley received her earrings and contacted me to thank you! Can I forward your email address to her so she knows who you are? And maybe your name (which I do not have!)?  
~ Variya   


Thanks, Variya. I'm her mom—she knows me!!!!    

To Ashley and Mom –  OOOHHHHH this is SO SWEET!!  I told her I had to contact you in case you were a secret admirer =)  What a thoughtful Mom! 
~ Variya

Aren't moms the best? Speaking of moms... we've got some fabulous Mother's Day gift options for yours.

This custom designed bracelet tells your family history. Guaranteed to be a winner at Mother's Day brunch.

This heirloom quality sterling silver birthstone necklace features a hand forged pendant so that new birthstones can be added as your family grows.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pure Titanium Only Please

I thought I’d share this exchange between a customer and me because our conversation might help clear up some questions about titanium.


I found your shop on Etsy when searching for titanium earrings. I definitely have problems wearing regular earrings, and I recently tried implant grade titanium studs with great success. My goal now is to hopefully replace the wires on earrings I own so I can wear them. It seems like you offer titanium wires, which is great.

My main question right now is are the titanium earrings and wires you sell pure titanium? I'm not sure if implant grade titanium differs from what you sell. Any information would be very helpful!

Thank you in advance,

(*Not her real name.) 

I wrote back to Heather and told her that I use pure Grade 1 Titanium for all my earrings. Most titanium earrings on the market are produced from implant grade titanium, which is an alloy (meaning it’s mixed with other metals). And alloys are the most significant cause of reactions, which is why we enforce a strict Pure Grade 1 Titanium Only Policy here at Variya HQ.

Heather seemed to me like the type of person who would appreciate more than just a basic answer. So I sent her this link to a site that explains in detail all about the different grades of titanium. Here’s what it says about Grade 1 Titanium (the type I use for all my earrings):

Grade 1 titanium is the first of four commercially pure titanium grades. It is the softest and most ductile of these grades. It possesses the greatest formability, excellent corrosion resistance and high impact toughness. Because of all these qualities, Grade 1 is the material of choice for any application where ease of formability is required. These include:
• Chemical processing
• Dimensional stable anodes
• Architecture
• Medical industry
• Marine industry
• Automotive parts
• Airframe structure
• Variya earrings

Just kidding. I added that last one. But seriously! Marine industry? Airframe structure? We’re in good company, my friends. Variya's titanium earrings are not only allergy-free but ultra durable. I don’t even know what “dimensional stable anodes” are, but I like the sound of it.

The good news is: Heather and anyone else concerned about allergic reactions to earrings can rest easy when ordering from Variya. What sets my work apart from most “hypo allergenic” jewelry is that I use only pure grade one Titanium (and Niobium—but that’s another post) in my earrings. No alloys, no metal sensitivities, no allergic reactions, no more itchy earlobes!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Birthstone Jewelry

I have a problem. Correction: I had a problem. See, I’m super sentimental and family means the world to me. So the idea of birthstone family jewelry is right up my sentimental little alley. My problem is (was) that most birthstone necklaces and birthstone bracelets are, imo, either: 

a. gaudy, tacky and/or cheesy
b. run-of-the-mill (a serious problem when it comes to something that should be totally unique)
c. way out of my price range

In a worst-case scenario, all three problems apply.

A few years ago I came up with an exciting alternative to the typical birthstone jewelry options. When my mom and my mother-in-law both lost their only living parent in the same year. I wanted to do something extra special for them for Mother’s Day that year to commemorate the family they came from and family they created. So I came up with the idea for family birthstone bracelets. The Life Story bracelets were a big hit, and you can read the story here.

Recently I had the opportunity to experiment more with my concept for custom birthstone family jewelry. A good friend of mine told me she wanted to give her mom an extra special piece of jewelry for Christmas. Her mom doesn’t wear bracelets, so we dreamed up a necklace alternative.

This is a sketch that I texted to my friend when we were dreaming up the perfect birthstone necklace idea for her mom.

My friend’s mom has seven kids. Yes, that's right. Seven. And, it just so happens that none them share the same birthday. Holy multi-colored-birthstones! At first I was a little concerned about how we were going to incorporate all those colors and make the necklace pretty enough that my friend’s mom would actually want to wear it. I am very picky about the jewelry I make, and I’m only willing to attach my name to pieces that I’m 100% happy with. But I love my friend, and I’m always up for a challenge—so I took the job.

I designed, shaped and hammered this pendent myself. That’s just how picky I am. Everything's gotta be juuuuust right.
This piece was so much fun to design. I adore custom pieces! For one thing, I get a sneak peek into people’s stories and lives. In this case, I learned that my friend’s mom has many fond family memories that involve the beach. My friend’s mom grew up going to the beach her whole life and continued the tradition with her own family. To commemorate her parents (my friend’s grandparents) we attached a tiny seashell at the back clasp of the necklace.

The semi-precious stones strung along the sterling silver chain represent the birthdays of each of the seven kids. The charm on the pendent is for the birthday of the only grandchild. There’s only one grandchild in the family right now, but with seven kids . . . buckle up because there's sure to be more! New birthstones can be added to the pendant as the family grows.

My friend and her mom on a walk at the beach a few months ago. Seriously. Anyone who bundles up in winter coats to go the beach must really love it.
Custom heirloom birthstone jewelry can be anything you want it to be! When I made a birthstone Life Story bracelet for myself, I incorporated antique beads from my grandmother’s old jewelry into the piece.

This is me with my mom, sister and niece. Hooray for family!
If you’d like to create an heirloom piece of birthstone jewelry that captures your family’s story, please contact me and tell me everything you’re dreaming about. I’d love to work with you!