BURLINGTON, Vt. – Of all the arts, jewelry might be the most personal.

Sandra Owens finds inspiration in more mundane objects. A friend brought her a pile of antique watch parts – gears, faces, and hands – that she converted to earrings and pins. She found spent bullet casings and turned them into Soldiers’ Prayer Rings. With her husband, Bill, she operates Silverwear, a small gallery in tiny Benson. Over the years she has noticed that customers are growing more discriminating. “They’re getting tired of just owning ‘stuff,’ ” she says. “I’m hearing more and more, ‘I want something special, something that is me.’ ”

That something often amounts to marrying jewelry with personal mementos such as a trinket bought long ago in a dime store. Owens embeds the object in gold or silver, changing it into a precious keepsake that can be worn every day, not just a personal relic “to put in a box and take out on special occasions.”

Vermont jeweler Sandra Owens works primarily in silver but also uses gemstones and gold, such as these 14-karat golden orbs measuring. They are cut from long gold wires, then sculpted, filed, and polished. They retail at $685 a pair.

Also, their unique handmade sterling silver ear wires are drawn through 7 dies to provide superior strength and shape retention. Customize our earrings with your choice of genuine gemstone beads at no extra charge, or choose a plain silver earwire without beads. However, as natural aquamarine is more expensive, there is an additional charge for them.

Please keep in mind that every piece of jewelry we make is completely handmade right in their studio/shop. They do not purchase finished jewelry and resell it, nor do they simply buy parts and assemble them so please expect slight variations, though rest assured we are exceptionally careful about quality.


They create handmade pieces like these earrings, which are crafted from sterling silver, antique watch faces and gears, a 14-karat gold nail, and fossilized mastodon ivory from the Aleutian Islands. A phrase from an Emily Dickinson poem is inscribed on the ivory in Japanese ink: “…this is the land the sunset washes”. The post-backed earrings retail for $325.