What do violin strings, paint can lids, and deer antlers all have in common? Sophomore Jordan Monnin can turn them into jewelry.
Monnin started making jewelry five years ago after being inspired by some handmade jewelry at a fair. Although he works primarily with steel, he has also used bone, paint can lids, deer antlers, violin strings, and discarded glass bottles to make earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.
“I really love seeing something and picking it up,” Monnin said. “I’ll see something that I like and then make something out of it.”
Pieces can take anywhere from two to 12 hours to make, depending on the material and complexity.
“The most complicated pieces I’ve done have taken about 15 hours,” Monnin said.
One such complicated piece was a matching set of a bracelet, a necklace, and a pair earrings made from violin strings. Monnin also incorporated gold and black beads, as well as pendants on the bracelet and the earrings. Because he only had four strings to work with, Monnin said he had to be extra conscious with the unfamiliar material.
“It’s a lot of trial and error with stuff like that,” Monnin said. “It was a lot of tweaking and trying to make sure I didn’t damage the actual strings.”
Monnin often gives pieces he has made as gifts for birthdays or other special occasions. He gave his sister, Sarah Monnin, a pair of earrings.
“He’s really talented with it,” Sarah said. “His pieces have more of a handmade look to them. The designs are different from what you might see on the store shelf.”
Monnin also gave junior Clara Fishlock a pair of earrings.
“He makes them very personalized for people,” Fishlock said. “Jewelry is something very personal; it’s more meaningful.”
Monnin’s craft can take some by surprise. Standing tall at 6’ 3” and sporting a thick beard, he doesn’t seem the type to work with delicate wire.
“Just seeing him, you wouldn’t expect him to make beautiful jewelry,” Fishlock said.
Although Monnin doesn’t run a business outright, he does occasionally sell his pieces. Pricing depends on the piece and the materials used.
“I’m hoping this can eventually be a long-term money-making side hobby,” he said. “It just kind of makes me happy to see things coming together and putting things together.”