Copper in the Arts

January 2011

Fallen Angel Jewelry: Linked through Brass

By Ashley Morris

Open filigree hoop - dark antiqued brass Open filigree hoop, dark antiqued brass.

Photograph courtesy of Fallen Angel

Beautiful partnerships really can be made online, and artists Karen Himelfarb and Tina Lavoie are prime examples. Although both have never met, they recently partnered to created Fallen Angel Jewelry.

Each of the Etsy artists had their own sites that featured jewelry items like charms, glass beads and brass, but both discovered they had a linked passion for black brass while working together on an Etsy treasury team.

"If you had you told me this is how work and life were going to be like years ago, I would've laughed," says Lavoie, who lives in Canada. "But I met my husband online 12 years ago, too, and the friends I met online even traveled for the wedding."

The duo complements each other well: Himelfarb, a former accountant in Long Island, N.Y., crunches the numbers, runs the online store/takes orders, stocks the Fallen Angel Brass inventory and does the paperwork; Lavoie, who has designed jewelry since age 10, is assigned jewelry and graphic design duty.

"I think it would be overwhelming for one person to do it all together," says Himelfarb.

"While it is unique that we work in two different locations, our partnership works really well because we don't work together, in that we can work late online, through e-mails and lots of photos."

Through their own Etsy journeys, the women each kept envisioning a line showcasing deep, dark brass stampings, filigree and chains - things that, at first, led them on a black brass treasure hunt.

Large butterfly link Large butterfly link, dark antiqued brass.

Photograph courtesy of Fallen Angel

"I kept thinking, 'I'd love to have this in black,' but there was nothing well-made," says Himelfarb.

But they wound up finding a wealth of raw, artistically made brass pieces in family-run warehouses throughout New England. They partnered with a finisher and Fallen Angel Brass, the supply forerunner to Fallen Angel Jewelry, was born in the summer of 2009.

The creative name was conjured up by the pair to connect to what Lavoie describes as "darkly romantic, overriding themes."

"We were thinking of black," says Himelfarb, "and came up with a name that was evocative of going through fire, living through a hard life, but made more beautiful, like going through the travails of life. So how does jewelry get to be beautiful? Just like people - the more troubles you have, the more beautiful it makes you."

Fallen Angel's beautiful vintage necklaces and earrings are inspired by the Art Nouveau, Neo-Victorian, and Romantic eras.

"I'm huge into Art Noveau," says Lavoie. "It's my favorite time period … and I really dig color theory, so that plays a big part in my designs. I always want to continue having a vintage look. There are some modern, angular looks inspired by nature and art history - and I love the stamped, steampunk look of making the old new again." The ladies love working with brass in particular because Himelfarb says it's not only pretty, but bendable-soft and sturdy. She says Fallen Angel has received a huge response from customers worldwide who echoed their weary hunt for black brass.

"Many say, 'Black? I've been looking for black brass everywhere!'" says Himelfarb.

Resources:

Fallen Angel Brass and Fallen Angel Jewelry, Long Island, NY and Canada

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