Sterling silver earrings — adorned with aquamarine, citrine and rose quartz, and other semi-precious stones — drop from individual display packages folded up by Olena Silchenko.
The Port Moody jeweller has a large box of her handcrafted objects, some of which have taken her a day to piece together for her new company, Style Matters.
For the past month or so, Silchenko has been visiting holiday craft fairs around Metro Vancouver to showcase and sell her product, which she also markets on Facebook.
But, in the new year, Silchenko hopes to break new ground by launching an Etsy shop — under Style Matters by Olena S. — and becoming more visible at gatherings around the region.
It’s an enterprise she’s been dreaming about for years, ever since she landed a job at a Kitsilano bead shop after emigrating from her native Ukraine.
There, the knitting, sewing and embroidery skills she picked up as a child and from her grandmother came in handy as she played with the ornaments and guided students in jewelry making.
“It was hard not to think about anything else when you’re surrounded by all of these little treasures,” she told The Tri-City News. “I thought, ‘I can do this for a living.’”
But the idea of the business was put on hold four years ago after she and her husband had a daughter. “I was very busy and it was never a good time.”
With her girl now more independent, Silchenko said Style Matters is finally taking root and she has more time to study and create earrings, necklaces and bracelets using semi-precious stones she’s bought online from places like the United States and India.
While the most difficult pieces can take up to a day to hammer out the silver, file down the edges and attach the beads and stones, in reality they can take weeks to cluster given the materials collected.
“It has to be the perfect fit,” Silchenko explained. “Sometimes, that means waiting for the next shipment.”
And her finished jewelry isn’t only about appearance.
“It’s not a trend. I want the owner to feel very special with the piece that I have made, like it’s just for them.”
Recently, Silchenko sold some jewelry to a woman who was gifting the pieces to her bridesmaids.
As for the price, Silchenko said she wants to keep her jewelry affordable — ranging from $35 to $65; however, she also takes custom orders.