Tucked within Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall, Starfish Jewelry (starfishboulder.com) is a sparkling gem itself. The boutique, a fixture on the local jewelry scene for 10 years, stocks an edited mix of fine, demi-fine and fashion pieces for a range of shoppers — from college students and younger people on a budget to out-of-towners and those looking for something rare and luxurious.
“Our overall aesthetic is unique art pieces,” says Elizabeth Yodice, owner of Starfish for the past two years. “People come in and say, ‘I love what you have. There’s a cohesiveness.’ When I buy a new line of jewelry, it’s based on instinct and what I find compelling.”
Starfish carries about 25 designers at a time, with half based in Colorado. A common thread connects one artist to the next: an authentic, personal connection to their work that shines through in every piece. Here, meet four designers who are sharing their passion for creating something beautiful with the Boulder community and beyond.
Born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Paula Romero was creatively influenced by many of her family members — architects, a painter, sculptor and surgeon — and the landscape that enveloped her. “Guayaquil is a port city filled with warm and kind people, delicious food, colors, nearby beaches that stretch for miles and amazing cultural art made by the indigeneous people,” she says. A move to the United States nearly 20 years ago eventually took her to Boulder, where she dreamed of a more creative role while working in the service industry. Using beads and pieces from necklaces she already had, Paula began crafting bracelets. This led to the creation of Zeta Leonis, her line of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings made from sterling silver, 14K-18K solid recycled gold, pearls and colorful gems from around the globe.
“My goal is to create inclusive, timeless pieces that are for any person, from the dad picking up kids from school to the grandmother looking to gift a newlywed on their special day,” Paula says. “The materials from each piece have a history of their own travels, and I hope to convey that in my work.”
Crafting jewelry has been part of Elisa Browsh’s life since high school. “I have always loved making jewelry because you can wear it!” she says. After working in Boulder jewelry store Diamond Dove and completing a goldsmithing apprenticeship while attending CU Boulder, Elisa was invited to a pearl auction in Tahiti. She imported pearls for over a decade for her company Elyria Pearls, which later evolved into Elyria Jewels — a collection of pieces that balance fine and raw elements, often with pearls, moonstones and diamonds.
Elisa finds inspiration in those closest to her (“Over the holidays, my husband and I went to Vienna, drank a lot of coffee and had a great time talking about art, architecture and the Habsburg crown jewels”) and great artists of the past. “Jeanne Toussaint, Cartier’s lead designer in the early 20th century, was a visionary jeweler,” she adds. Currently, Elisa is expanding her bridal offering while diving deeper into her philanthropic endeavors.
Boulder native Davis Hatcher made his first piece of jewelry more than 10 years ago at his brother’s request for a Christmas present, an unexpected experience that perfectly combined Davis’ creative and engineering talents. “Since I first got my hands on some Legos as a kid, I have never stopped making things — electric guitars, bike parts, on and on,” he says.
With his eponymous artisan jewelry line, Davis works with gold, silver, niobium (“I get it from a secret supplier,” he quips), diamonds, emeralds and opals to create sculptural rings, pendants, earrings and helix cuffs. He uses techniques that he invented and refined in order to scrap fewer precious metals. “I have a distaste for polished, empty-feeling brand images and materialism,” he says. “I care a lot about a shared sense of humanness and want to help others feel worthy through my art.”
“I’m obsessed with stones,” says Kathleen Doyle-Murphy. “Ask my husband. There is a room filled with them.” Kathleen designs bracelets, earrings and necklaces with emeralds, lapis, labradorite, opals, rubies, amethysts and more for her line, James and Jezebelle Jewelry. A Boulder resident for 25 years, Kathleen’s talents were spotted 16 years ago when she showed necklaces she made to a friend in a local restaurant. A boutique owner overheard her and ordered several pieces on the spot. Kathleen specializes in hand knotting and wire working processes that can take several hours. “Some necklaces with micro stones take four to five hours of knotting,” she says. “I am proud of the quality and the fact that they’re made by a real person.”
Kathleen recently picked up metalsmithing, a skill she had to let go when she couldn’t give it her full attention. She’s spending a few days a week in a metal studio, exploring different techniques to spark her creativity. “Whether it’s making a beautiful and delicious plate of food, making a gorgeous piece of clothing or making an amazing photo, keeping your imagination and creativity alive is what it’s all about.”