Custom jewelry designer also offers “metal clay” classes
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Business name: Heart & Stone Jewelry
Address: 269 West Main St., Northborough
Owner: Julie Booras
Contact information: 508-466-8333
How do you describe the jewelry Heart & Stone offers?
“Heart & Stone sells custom-designed, personalized jewelry that’s wearable, stylish, and handmade from precious metals, mostly silver, and all-natural gemstones,” said Julie Booras, who started an online store in 2007 and opened the Northborough studio in September 2013.
“Our charms collection offers different shapes and sizes, different fonts, different layouts. For example, on our clock face charm, you can decide the time the hands indicate, and can put a message or a date on the back. You can put a personal saying on a message charm. We have a four-sided charm that swivels so you could put a grandchild’s name on each face and no one is on the back. All-natural gemstones can be added.
“We usually have a two- to three-week turnaround for custom orders, but during the holidays, we work long hours to fill orders on time.”
You also sell non-custom jewelry?
“Yes, but even those charms can be engraved on the back. We have earrings and other ready-to-wear items. For men, we have cufflinks that could have a town’s coordinates or a monogram or initial. We have rings and key chains.
“Our Giving is Good collection features charms representing different charities. The designs are all original, with a portion of the sale going to the charity. I want people to like the design of the jewelry and not just buy it for the cause,” Booras said. The collection includes a tiger lily charm supporting young breast cancer survivors, a “Breathe” charm for cystic fibrosis, and a charm with the word “love” in Braille for the International Rescue Committee.
What is “metal clay”?
“Metal clay is small particles of metalI mostly use silvermixed with an organic binder. You work with it like clay. You roll it, sculpt it, texture it, then dry it. Once I fire it in the kiln, all the binder burns off and you’re left with pure silver.
“I spent about a year teaching myself to work with metal clay because there were no classes. It’s a very new material that’s only been in the U.S. since about 1996. For me, the clay was a stepping-stone into metal-smithing. We do stone-setting, engraving, soldering. The clay is just another tool, but it’s a very accessible way for people to design and make their own jewelry without serious machinery and tools.”
You have classes in working with metal clay?
“We run a full-day Saturday class with certified instructors. There’s an hour of instruction, because it’s silver and not inexpensive. The clay has its own set of properties that you need to understand. After the instruction, you make a few pieces which are fired and finished, so you walk out the door at the end of the day with finished jewelry.
“After someone takes a class, they can work during our open studio hours, using our tools and buying the clay or bringing their own. You can work all afternoon for a $15 studio fee, and we fire the pieces for you.”
Heart & Stone is open Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check the website for extended holiday hours and in-store events. Gift certificates are available.