This week we get to know Michele Benjamin, the inspirations behind her beautiful designs and the charities and projects she is involved in.
Michele Benjamin began creating her sterling silver designs in 2013, using many different methods to create her jewelry, including lost-wax casting, metalwork, and computer-aided design.
Michele’s love of fine art and the natural environment inspire the concept and creation of her artistic life forms, including angelfish, bees, butterflies, dragonflies, hummingbirds, seahorses, sea turtles, starfish, swans, tortoises, and more.
With a background in Art History, Michele has a keen appreciation for strong aesthetics - her ethical, sustainable pieces have a distinctive style that will immediately catch the eye.
How did your brand, Michele Benjamin Jewelry, begin?
Michele Benjamin Jewelry began with a strong appreciation of nature, art and the desire to create jewelry and previous experience in making it with the drive to devote myself to a business 24/7.
When did you first fall in love with jewelry and knew you wanted to become a designer?
I fell in love with jewelry after taking a course in jewelry making including metal work and lost wax. I equipped my studio with tools, continued my jewelry practice, and went into business full time.
Is there anyone in particular who has heavily influenced/guided you as a designer?
It is my art history background that continues to guide me as an artist and designer in terms of content and materials.
Values are really important to us at JewelStreet. What are your core brand values?
One of my core brand values is to support the arts and culture. My “Bee” design is sold at the Whitney Museum of American Art gift shop referencing the beehives on the rooftop of the museum that produce “Flora” honey for that support the arts.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
My designs are inspired by nature in the form of animals and florals. I also create activist jewelry in support of Women's rights and Human Rights.
How is your jewelry made?
My design techniques begin with developing each piece through sketches and drawings, followed by measurements and metal tolerances. I use all forms of jewelry making including lost wax, metal work and computer aided design.
How do you ensure your jewelry is ethical and sustainable?
My jewelry is ethical and sustainable. Each piece is cast using recycled-refined sterling silver not form the mining industry. Many of the gemstones are lab created and also not from mining. Packaging is 90% recycled post-consumer paper.
Are there any celebrities you would love to see wearing your designs?
I would love to see Oprah wearing my designs for obvious reasons. Meryl Streep is an important advocate for women’s rights and gender equity. Bono of U2 and Daymond John of Fubu and Shark Tank are great choices for wearing my lapel pins.
Do you work with any charities?
I donate jewelry to community fundraising efforts including silent auctions for cancer research, and Housing Works “Fashion for Action” charity.
Winding down after a day in the studio is sometimes difficult for a designer, what do you do to help this process?
When not designing jewelry, I visiting the Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and also I enjoy nature in Central Park and at Jones Beach.