How Rosiland Burch Defined Her Path as a Handcrafted Jewelry Designing Artist
Rosiland Burch crafts one-of-a-kind and limited-production handmade jewelry. She is currently a graduate gemology student at the Gemological Institute of America. In 2011, Ms. Burch had an exciting opportunity to visit an Amazonite gemstone mine in Amelia, VA. Also, she had the opportunity to go rock hounding after the tour of the mine. This experience carried her back to childhood memories of playing with dirt and rocks. She felt at home with her gloves, bucket, and shovel looking for various rock and minerals in the field area. Once Ms. Burch understood that her love for art and gems, as well as, baubles could come together, her world was never the same. She embarked on her own process of jewelry design after selling jewelry for two independent jewelry companies for some years. She currently competes in various jewelry design competitions and is a freelance accessory designer for fashion shows and other events, in addition to finishing her graduate studies.
You are GIA certified. Walk us through the process? How does it feel to be certified? How has it helped you as a designer and business owner?
Answer: Yes, I am GIA certified. If gemology is your passion, then pursue gemological education. There are many schools that you can choose from. Learn all you can in your desired field. Finally, go for it! The opportunities are endless!
My process to becoming a Gemologist is a long one. Once I realized that this was my passion, I found out about the GIA and enrolled in school (the GIA is a university for a specialized field of study). It was an instant connection. I loved it then and now (I am doing my graduate studies).
The main thing that I can tell anyone who is considering this field of study is to think about why you want to embark on this journey. This field doesn’t have a ready-made job market like many other career paths in this country. This field is so specific, but yet so vast.
How did you get started in Jewelry Making? When was the moment you decided this is what you wanted to do?
Answer: I got started with handcrafting jewelry as part of my quest to decide what direction that I would take in my gemological path.
When did you decide to go from making jewelry as a hobby to making it a business?
Answer: Again, being a handcrafted jewelry design artist came as the result of testing out options on my path. I realized I had a passion for it as well as a creative voice that I wanted the world to see through my jewelry.
How many years have you been in business?
Answer: I have been in business for 11 years.
Since jewelry making is a crowded market, what did you do to set yourself apart from others?
Answer: I simply stick to my jewelry design aesthetic and handcrafting practices. I don’t try to copy other designers or create jewelry based on trends. You have to be true to what you do and who you are as a handcrafted jewelry designer. There is a huge difference between being a jewelry maker and being a handcrafted jewelry designing artist, of which I am the latter.
A handcrafted jewelry designer encompasses the entire process in terms of handling jewelry. Jewelry is often designed as well as handcrafted by the handcrafted jewelry design artist. The concepts, designs, and stories come from the aesthetic of the artist's creative process. Then, the jewelry handcrafting process is executed based on that creative process previously mentioned. Unique pieces of jewelry or collections get created because of this process. Jewelry makers have an entirely different process. They make jewelry to sale or for jewelry designers who don’t handcraft their own jewelry.
What business advice do you have for those who want to go from hobbyist to entrepreneur?
Answer: I would tell new artists who make jewelry to learn their craft first. This is my number one tip. Anyone can get materials, put it together, and say it’s jewelry. Pursue education in your area(s) of jewelry design. This education will give you more options in the designing and creating process. While the new artist is absorbing this artistic process, learning how to run a business is important as well because there is more to it than creating fabulous jewelry and selling it. I encourage you to go beyond the bare minimum in this process and to educate yourself in both the artistic and business aspects.
What are your accomplishments as a designer and entrepreneur?
Answer: I feel that my greatest accomplishment is to see the joy on my clients faces when they receive the custom handcrafted jewelry that I have handmade for them. As an entrepreneur, the future charity “Sparkle In The Arts” will help minorities tap into their creative side as well as provide them with a skill that they can use to get a job or create an entity for themselves.
What does your dream project look like and who does it involve?
Answer: My ideal project would relate to fantasy (ethereal). Also, I believe that I will design jewelry for celebrities at some point. I don’t have a particular person in mind just now. Finally, my ultimate goal is to build a memorable brand that people will trust and respect.
What is your favorite jewelry media and why?
Answer: I don’t have a favorite medium to work with. I let the materials speak to me, then go from there. Color is my thing. I love to tell stories with my jewelry through color. My favorite colors are in the purple and blue families. Pastels and muted color blends are my absolute favorite, but they don’t show up in my jewelry collections just yet.
What do you want to be remembered for in the sense of your business and craft?
Answer: I want to be known for being a risk taker, who’s not afraid of change or making a difference. When you step into your purpose in this life, you will encourage others to do the same thing in their lives.
Rosiland Burch sets herself apart in the jewelry making industry by being a handcrafted jewelry designer. She values continuous education in her field. A few of her future plans include finishing her graduate studies, developing a men’s collection and working on her charity “Sparkle In The Arts”. One thing that will always be a constant is her love for jewelry making.
What is YOUR favorite jewelry media? Comment below to share your answer and any thoughts on this blog post.