Sophomore Jordan Monnin turns odds and ends into jewelry. Jordan Monnin | Courtesy

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.”