How Pam Older Stumbled Into the Fantasy World of Jewelry Design

Whether you are a customer looking for jewelry with a memorable story behind it, an artist, or a business owner, getting to know the entrepreneur and jewelry designer Pamela Older might be of great interest. In this first post in a series of interviews to come, Pam talks about how she stumbled into making and designing jewelry and what inspires and motivates her.

Older started experimenting with jewelry design when she was an art student in Miami. “In need of a job I talked my way into a sales position at OM, a tiny handmade jewelry shop in Coconut Grove, Florida. I showed the owner, a series of twisted paper clips made into god knows what! He must have thought I had chutzpah enough to be a great salesperson and I was hired on the spot.” Those were the days of hippiedom in Coconut Grove and Pam was living the bohemian dream.

Not long into her time at OM, Older began to design her own jewelry, “I started banging on silver and polishing links for the shop and soon I learned how to solder and polish. I also learned how to create in wax by observing a woman in the shop and soon had a few wax creations of my own to cast into rings. OM let me put them out in the display case and that was the beginning of my young career.  I was so excited when my first ring sold- I couldn't  imagine someone liking it enough to pay for it. The ring was a delicate vine of gold with two carved mother of pearl butterflies resting on gold twigs.I thought the butterflies were magical and imagined them flying up and lighting on a finger.” After that experience Pam continued her pursuits selling to friends and at craft fairs, creating pieces using a rudimentary Dremel to polish and buff and a folding table in a relative's  basement as her jeweler's bench. Once she even convinced a local dentist to let her use his lab to polish her jewelry.

Older’sprimary inspirations for creating are and have always been, colored gemstones. “The endless colors are inspiration enough! The combinations of stone and metal shades and various textures you can achieve are so appealing it can be difficult to choose a direction to go in. Some designs are easy to see, but experimentation is part of the artistic process. If there is one thing to pass on as advice it's experiment! You don't always need to know where you are going!"

"Customers are a great source of inspiration too‒ they come in with fantastic ideas leaving me to interpret them. I think my best work comes when I am collaborating with them on a custom ring or necklace, I am inspired by their thoughts and emotions and love connecting with them. Below is a woman who started as a customer, became my best sales rep and then my best friend. That's how it goes in this business!"