Melissa Lew has been an artist her whole life. Some of her fondest childhood memories are of making jewelry with her mother. These days, in addition to her graphic design day job, she is also a painter, a photographer, a classically trained pianist, and of course, the designer and sculptor of her own jewelry line.
The current Melissa Lew jewelry collection includes four lines, with four themes: Transcendence (cherry blossoms), Prosperity (goldfish), Longevity (Asian dogwoods), and Resilience (transfers of Melissa’s paintings on bamboo). Melissa uses mainly recycled, sustainable, and eco-friendly materials to create her jewelry, including recycled fine silver, stainless steel, and bamboo. All her recycled fine silver jewelry is hand carved, so every single piece is completely unique!
Although Melissa has wide-ranging experience in the visual and performing arts, her interests were focused into jewelry making partially through her exposure to recycled fine silver. The material intrigued her, and she found it was an excellent medium to translate her passion for her Chinese heritage into a personal, wearable form.
“I love how personal jewelry is,” she says. “I love that instead of being hung on a
wall or placed on a pedestal, people wear it and enjoy it.”
Her inspirations come from her Chinese heritage, and from the deep reverence the Chinese have for the natural world. Classical Chinese proverbs, symbolism, and tradition all play a part in the creation of Melissa Lew jewelry.
Melissa taught herself how to make jewelry, which is unsurprising for someone attracted to all types of art and handcrafting. She had always been interested in sculpture, and jewelry-making, the way she does it anyway, is just like sculpture on a very small scale.
In addition to her love for recycled fine silver, Melissa also hopes to experiment with other recycled metals, including copper, bronze, and gold.
Melissa Lew Jewelry has won several awards and has been shown in exhibitions locally and across the country. Most recently, locals may have seen her jewelry adorn the models at DC Fashion Week in February.
Not surprisingly, Melissa’s DC-area customers are drawn to her cherry blossom themed Transcendence line. She supposes that the extremely popular National Cherry Blossom Festival here makes it easy for locals to form a personal connection between the understated flower and their hometown.
You can find Melissa Lew jewelry online and at local arts and craft shows. The next one will be the Ballston Arts & Crafts Market in Arlington, Virginia on June 12. Melissa’s web site is updated regularly with news on her upcoming events and appearances, so check often!