Artist finds high demand crafting custom-beaded jewelry

At a local craft fair, Roz Schwartz displays her custom beaded jewelry. Her work ranges from name badge lanyards to Judaica to wedding jewelry.

By Jim Winnerman, Special to the Jewish Light

Roz Schwartz and her husband Jerry have lived in St. Louis all their lives.  They are members of Kol Rinah (formerly Shaare Zedek) where Roz’s parents were married in 1936. Although she graduated with a master’s in elementary education from the University of Missouri in 1970, she has been making and selling custom jewelry for the past 15 or so years.

How did you start designing and making jewelry? 

It began after I had looked everywhere but could not find an eyeglass chain decorated with beads and in the colors I wanted. So I went to a hobby shop and they told me how to make my own. Within a few days I had made several and began selling them to stores.  That lasted two years, and then I branched out into making jewelry. Everyone in my family has started a business, so it came naturally, I guess. 

What are your more popular pieces? 

After the 9/11 tragedy, name badges began to be required in most corporations and schools.  Women wanted them to be fashionable.  I began to sell custom name badge lanyards made to order and they remain very popular, as do my eyeglass chains.  I also make custom jewelry with a Cardinals, Blues or University of Missouri theme.

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Who are your customers?

About half of my customers are repeat buyers.  They follow me on Facebook and know where I will be and come to see what is new.  I sell to a lot of people who have not been able to find what they want at a jewelry store.

If a young girl comes with a limited amount to spend and is buying a gift for her mother or sister I will find something for her even if I normally would sell it for more than they have to spend.  It is a pleasure to make a young girl happy.

Do you have any Judaica jewelry? 

I carry a wide range of Stars of David, chais and hamsa hands that I incorporate into a custom piece. 

What about jewelry for brides?  

I am a wedding consultant for iBella Beads.  When a bride wants custom-made jewelry for her wedding or as a gift for her bridesmaids she calls me and I meet them at the store and design something to fit her needs. 

What is the most unusual piece you have made?  

I made a set of earnings out of large washers for someone to give to their girlfriend. They are used in a popular lawn game where washers are tossed into a circle 50 feet away.

Where do you sell your jewelry? 

I sell somewhere every weekend.  Twice a month I am in the atrium of Chesterfield Mall and St. Clair Mall.  I also sell at many craft fairs in the St. Louis area.

How much?

Prices range from $15 to $100, and everything is custom made and one-of-a-kind. 

What do you enjoy about your business?

Meeting people in person and designing what they like and seeing them happily wearing it makes it all worthwhile. 

To find where Roz Schwartz will be selling, call 314-993-3852 or visit her Facebook page: Beads Are Us