All That Glitters
Led by a true artist’s spirit, Christina Jervey creates jewelry that reflects the beauty around and within her.
In a quiet space on Charleston’s Broad Street sits Mount Pleasant resident and jewelry designer Christina Jervey, surrounded by her tools. It is mere weeks after Christmas, a time when the annual crescendo of the artisan maker finally reaches its conclusion, and Jervey is full of exhausted gratitude. For a while there, it seemed like the orders would never stop flowing, and the artist’s hands could hardly work quickly enough to fulfill her quota in time for the holiday. But she did, and with another successful year in the books, Jervey begins to plan anew, determining her path ahead. This is where she thrives: in the realm of dreaming, the place where her inspirations and aspirations lead her mind toward an unseen future. This is a space that she inhabits regularly, ducking in and out, shelving elements and ideas, and revisiting in her quiet moments. But here, at the beginning of the new year, she immerses herself. With over a decade of experience and a lifetime of wisdom behind her, she makes plans for her company, her jewelry line, and herself. She considers everything, including color palettes, textures, and materials. Gathering together a rough idea of what direction she is headed, once again, she begins.
Jervey has always been a dreamer. She’s the type of person who is never fully satisfied with life at face value, who seeks to create, to explore, to love, and to discover. These tendencies, novelties in her youth, led her to a lifetime of experiences that gain an increasing amount of focus as the years go on. After growing up in Lynchburg, Virginia, she attended high school in Louisville, Kentucky, and went on to study Natural Resources at the University of the South -Sewanee University, including concentrations in art, forestry, and geology. During college summers and in the years following, Jervey was a transient soul, finding herself following the call of inspiration often. While living as a yoga instructor in Colorado, she began to make wire and beaded jewelry, and her clients responded enthusiastically. Soon, she attained a job managing a jewelry store in Vail, and between the tourists and locals, her work was constantly selling. Noticing her talent, the owner of the shop transferred her to their fine jewelry location, where Jervey began to learn about precious metals, gold, and diamonds. Resolutely, she decided that she wanted to become a fine jewelry designer, and headed back to the East Coast to go back to school. At Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, Jervey enrolled in a jewelry making concentration course, learning the basics of metalsmithing, soldering, filing, and assembly. From there, she approached any jewelry maker she could find whose work she admired, and asked for apprenticeships, lessons, tutorials, or whatever they were willing to share. She received invaluable training during this time in her life, and eventually headed back to Penland School of Crafts for another jewelry making intensive before traveling to Virginia to take a formal stone setting course at the New Approach School for Jewelers. Far from a traditional path, Jervey’s pieced-together foray into the world of jewelry design afforded her opportunities to explore techniques, develop passions, and understand the business before settling down in Charleston years later.
After her father retired to Charleston while she was in college, Jervey fell in love with the area, and even spent a summer living downtown as an undergrad. Eventually, her travels brought her back to the Holy City, where she finally began to establish roots with her husband and two young children. She started making jewelry at home in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant, meeting clients at local coffee shops or in her hastily cleaned workshop space, never fully devoid of a toddler’s impact. It wasn’t long before she felt the need to work from a dedicated, quieter space, and eventually, she found it: a light-filled, client-ready location in the heart of Charleston, where Jervey now meets clients properly and toils over each piece she creates.
A quick glance at Christina Jervey’s collection – in her studio or on her website – reveals her greatest inspiration: nature. There are earrings reminiscent of ferns or feathers, necklaces and bracelets featuring twig-like designs, and stones that recall the earth and sky. There are charms of pebbles and arrowheads, antlers and talons. More present than anything, though, is the element of imperfect beauty. These are not your run-of-the-mill, prefabricated, shopping mall jewelry store style pieces. These are handcrafted affairs featuring gentle lines and unique gems. They come from that realm of dreams of hers, from the archives of her experiences. A trip to Maine brings forth nautical themes – sailor’s knot cufflinks, sea-colored stones – while a walk on the South Carolina beach results in sand dollar charms and sharks teeth necklaces. Even a material, such as a bit of lace she found interesting, can find its way into her work, like in the brass cuff she made by casting and burning out the fabric, replicating the texture. She works with brass, sterling, and gold, often plating to keep her price points affordable. Most popular are her bangles, of which she offers new ones each year, but every item has an adoring fan or a dozen, often seen in the comments sections of her social media posts. Typically, Jervey offers a handful of new options to her line in the spring, and another handful around holidays. The rest of the time, she is working on another exciting aspect of her job: creating custom jewelry for her clients. Sometimes, it will simply be birthed from an idea: a client decides they want a piece for themselves or another person, they come to her for a consultation, and she creates the piece. Other times, she will receive correspondence from someone wishing to re-work an old family heirloom piece, and after deciding on a direction, she will melt down the precious metal, pull the stones out, and create a new heirloom piece for the client. For every new project, Jervey welcomes the opportunity to create something that will be treasured for a lifetime or more, and treats each with reverent regard.
Having operated in Charleston for over eight years, Christina Jervey has made a name for herself as a favorite among locals seeking classic, yet trendy design. Her relentless pursuit of reflecting the imperfect beauty around her is evident in every piece of jewelry, and because of it, the city gleams a little brighter.
By Jana Riley