Jewelry artist Bettina Magarill Pressman first started her business after she picked up a flyer at an art festival advertising a class at a local bead store. Twenty years later, she is still creating jewelry as a full-time business, selling her work through numerous retail events and also wholesale to stores and galleries nationwide.
She says, “I knew that if I wanted to wholesale my collection, I would need to learn to make every element in each piece. So I took a class in metalsmithing at the Gem Cutters Guild in Baltimore, and even learned to make glass beads.”
Her original collection included sterling silver and freshwater pearls, with a flowing signature look that has great feminine appeal. She has since branched out into using many other materials, including aluminum, copper, brass and silver plate – and incorporating paper and other objects into her work.
She loves to sell retail and speak with customers, getting their reaction to new styles she has designed. Their feedback allows her to fine-tune her jewelry line, getting just the right length on a necklace, or focusing on a popular color.
Earrings are her most popular sellers, and have been a hit with young women on campus and elsewhere. The aluminum styles are extremely light (and less costly than silver), but cannot be soldered – so she uses techniques to cut and twist the metal to create a large variety of designs.
What’s next? She is currently developing a retail website for her line called “The Jewelry Farmer” which will make its debut in early 2013, offering a selection of work that is different than her wholesale collections.