MARQUETTE — One local jewelry artist uses U.P. resources and gives some profits back to local organizations.
You have seen Beth Millner’s pendants or rings around town you may have noticed that they are modeled after certain scenery or lakes in the U.P. Not only are the designs U.P.-based, but so are the materials. Some collections also give back to local organizations.
“The process itself, sometimes it’s loud hammering and other times its tiny little filing and sanding and so it is kind of meditative in some sense,” owner/designer Beth Millner said. “Especially the sawing because once you get control over the saw it is just following a line. You’re sort of tracing the drawing that you made and making it into a shape in medal.”
After drawing her designs, Beth moves on to shaping the medal using a fine wire jeweler’s saw. Although Beth and her team laugh and enjoy one another’s company in the studio, this step is very tedious.
Next step is shaping the pieces, then soldering the pieces together we head to the torch. Ninety-nine percent of the metal used is recycled.
Currently, Beth is working on a Wonderland series. A handful of her pieces use resources from right here in the U.P.
“I’ve released some pieces over the summer here and those pieces are featuring great lakes minerals; I’ve got Lake Superior green stone, Lake Superior agates and then copper agates. Which are a pretty rare agate that has copper banding that forms in it deep down into the salt layer,” Millner said. “The people I get my stones from live up in the Keweenaw and they find them all and they cut and polish the stones. So I’ve kind of got my secret source.”
Copper from the White Pine Mine can also be found in some pieces.
Beth Millner collaborates with local organizations to create fundraiser pieces. A pendant is dedicated to the organization and each piece sold fifty dollars is donated including the Noqueamon Trail Network and the Superior Watershed Partnership. This fall, two more will be added in honor of the Superior Youth Theatre and the U.P. Land Conservancy.
“Often times their fundraising they are selling something that gives a dollar or two here or there and I thought it would be nice to do it with jewelry,” Millner said. “Where they can have a symbol of their support and help these organizations at the same time.”
To learn more about Beth Millner Jewelry or to shop her designs online, click here.