In my life, jewelry has often acted as a kind of signpost. An indication that I’m where I’m supposed to be…

I come by the concept of “reinventing yourself” honestly. I was in my late 30s, and already becoming established in my career as a research scientist, when my mom passed away. Her death was very sudden and traumatic, and in the weeks and months that followed I spent many hours re-evaluating the path I was on, and the costs associated with it. I recall clearly seeing a note my mom had written my daughter about how much she enjoyed her school play, and how she was looking forward to their baking Christmas cookies together. I wasn’t part of any of it. I was completely disconnected; worse, I had no idea. I was so worried about navigating the daily stresses, I had stopped listening to the little voice inside myself. I had become inauthentic.

It hit me then that, for years, I had really just been going through the motions. Always thinking about the next move – the next grant, the next study, the next promotion… I had stopped really deciding what to do with my life and was basically just doing what I was “supposed” to do. So when my mom’s stroke happened, it stopped me dead in my tracks. I asked myself, if I could do anything – be anything – in the world, what would it be? And I knew. Without a doubt, I knew. My love for art and passion for creating beautiful things rushed to the fore. I wanted to create fine jewelry.

Stop Waiting for “Some Day”

I knew in my heart what I needed to do. Seeing my goal clearly for the first time in my life, I realised it was now or never.

I believe we tell ourselves that “some day” we will pursue the life of our dreams. Some day, we will take that trip of a lifetime, or write the letter to that “someone special”, or move to the coast, or start that new career. But days become weeks, and we are overcome by obligations. We are paralyzed by fear. Questions keep us rooted in place and, consequently, it seems easier to think about those things “some other time”. And it never comes.

Plus, change is never easy. There were many people who thought they “knew better” what was best for me, and tried to talk me out of it. They told me it was a waste of my education and experience; they said it would be too hard to make such a huge change; they threatened to withdraw their respect.

In the end, I realised I couldn’t just keep trudging along the “safe” path. As they say, I knew I would regret doing nothing more, looking back at it. So I slowly started making the moves I needed to make – went to California and New York for design training; started purchasing equipment; ramped up my metalworking and casting classes; learned more about myself and my design aesthetic; and, finally, bought a lovely home in the country where I could set up a true workshop and design space.

None of these things happened overnight, but slowly, I changed the course of my ship. I no longer operate from that space of “going through the motions”. I feel blessed every single day.

Let This Page Be Your Signpost

So when I talk about “Reinventing Yourself”, to me it’s more than just a slogan. I completely understand it is not easy. It is not trivial. I get it. There are people who are going to make you feel bad about your choice. Some will tell you it’s a mistake. Others will claim you are being selfish, or foolish. There are people who will warn you that you will regret it. You will have self-doubt and days where you think it would be easier to just chuck the idea. You will be scared.

But believe me, it’s worth it. I know, because I’ve been there.

As I said at the beginning, in my life, jewelry has often acted as a kind of signpost. An indication that I’m where I’m supposed to be. At a low point while making the transition to my new job, I was away on a trip and I remember asking “is this really what I’m meant to be doing?” Later that evening, as I reached into the vending machine to grab a Diet Coke, I felt my hand slip through a piece of metal – literally. I pulled it out, and there was a bangle on my wrist. True story. I wear that bracelet every day, as a tangible symbol of my commitment to my new life path.

Perhaps the fact that you’ve stumbled across this site can be a sign for you too.

Tell the World!

As scary as it seems, when you believe in your dreams, you will drag the rest of the world along with you. So don’t wait in the background in fear: Announce it to the world!

I create jewelry to help mark those moments when you want to celebrate taking control of your life. Jewelry is not my hobby. It is my passion. Let Art of Gems jewelry proclaim to the world that you are taking the reins, and you are going to move forward, boldly and unapologetically.

I have created four jewelry collections for people to inspire and celebrate the bold changes happening in your life – or gathering your courage to make them. The collections are Restore, Awaken, Embrace, and Transcend, and I invite you to explore them and see if a piece calls to you. Or, contact me directly and I would be thrilled to make something special just for you.

Believe in yourself. Invest in yourself. Trust yourself… And most of all, have courage!

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Artist’s Statement

Image3Ever since I was young, I believed there is a magic to finding beauty in the earth. I thought there was something magic about rocks just sitting in the ground for millennia, just waiting to be discovered! My design philosophy stems from this love of Nature, and the belief that the things She creates are perfect in their own right. As a result, I try to capture some of those simple, structural aspects in gems and precious metal, showcasing the beauty of nature in a modern, stylized way. I am inspired by the Art Nouveau movement that took place in the early 20th century. It, too, focused on the beauty of nature, and was known for its sweeping curves and elegant style.  Check out our Collections to find the piece that’s perfect for you. Or contact Art of Gems, and let me help you create something spectacular.


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Hannah Pazderka studied Jewelry Design at GIA in Carlsbad, California in 2010, returning the following year to study computer-aided design and manufacture at their New York campus. She completed advanced Matrix coursework in Montreal and Edmonton through Gemvision Canada. She obtained her Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP) diploma in 2013 and continues to take courses in design and metalworking.