I started working at Krombholz Jewelers in 2013 after graduating from The College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati in Electronic Media. My parents asked me to work part time to help with social media and a web presence and by late 2013, I was working full time.
I’ve always loved vintage and antique… well anything… and at first my focus at the store was on costume jewelry. I started an Etsy shop and began selling costume jewelry online. Today, it's grown to over 1000 items. However, Krombholz is known for fine jewelry and luckily we have quite a lot of interesting vintage pieces come through our door.
A few years ago, I started looking at some of the items we had purchased that were to be melted down for gold scrap. I thought these pieces had way too much potential to just disappear. Our longtime jeweler, Marc, listened as I described what I thought the pieces could turn into and created magic. He converted filigree lingerie pins into drop earrings and turned stick pins into assemblage charm necklaces.
Somewhere down the road, I decided it might be neat if I could learn to do some of these conversions myself. I started out very slowly, coming back to the shop occasionally and watching more than participating. Our jeweler, Bryon began to teach me how to use the laser welder which was very overwhelming at first. However, as I started to understand how it works and as I began to have some success, I became hooked on creating projects. The laser welder is a great tool for converting brooches to pendants and making earrings. In the last couple of months (especially with COVID) I keep returning to the shop with new ideas each day. It’s so important to find a way to make antique pieces relevant to what people wear today. The jewelry is beautiful and deserves a whole new life.
Aside from the laser welder, I’ve learned how to solder, how to polish and how to use our newest toy… I mean tool… the arc welder. The arc welder lives on my workbench (which happens to be my great grandfather’s bench) and while we use it for closing end rings and other simple repairs, we mostly use it for our newest trend, FUSING. FUSING is the new trend of “permanent jewelry.” I use the machine to fuse links together so a bracelet stays on indefinitely. This has been quite the learning experience in itself because not only am I working with tiny gold objects, I’m involving humans in this process which is a bit more pressure. There’s nothing like struggling to get an end ring closed that is tiny in scale but when someone’s there watching you too… whew, it can get tricky.
That’s probably the most important thing I’ve learned along the road to becoming a jeweler: patience. All you can do is be patient and breathe. My favorite part of learning the jewelry making process is chatting with my dad about different ideas I have, asking if it’s impossible to turn a filigree brooch into a ring top, or make a buckle ring out of a simple oval pin. I like how he processes each piece and helps me turn it into something really unique and cool. Learning the trade from my dad is very special. Sitting at my great grandfather’s bench makes me feel like I’m in the exact right place. My mom teared up the other day because I learned to size a ring and she said my grandfather, Herbie, would be so proud. I wish my grandparents had seen me begin the journey to becoming a jeweler but I have a feeling they’re watching.
Learning the jewelry trade is not something I ever thought would be a part of my life journey (although when I was 12 I made a time capsule that said when I grew up I thought I’d be a jeweler or a singer). The funny thing is I play in bands so technically my 12 year old prediction of my future was accurate. However, getting to work with my family every day is my favorite job I could ever have. My sister joined my parents and I working at the store when she moved back from Denver 5 years ago. We’ve always been a close family and working at the store together, along with our work family, Anita and Bryon, creates the perfect environment to learn and grow. I can’t wait to create more and save all of the orphans from the land of misfit jewelry. If you’re interested in checking out some of my creations, visit the Repurposed Antique Jewelry tab on our website.
Izzi- We are so proud of your new accomplishments!! I know your family as well as Herbie & Mela are happily watching you from above.
Aunt Lynn & Uncle Tim