Sarah Swell

Sarah Swell

Since we are all physically disconnected right now as we STAY AT HOME, I reached out virtually to Sarah Greenberg, the mastermind maker behind one of our all-time favorite lines, Sarah Swell Jewelry, to see how she was doing. Sarah gave me a lovely video tour of her makeshift home studio, and we got to chat about the things she really loves about her job and hometown.

A bit about Sarah – she’s been a jewelry fanatic for a really long time. She dreams in jewelry. “It's true.  My waking (and sleeping) life revolves around jewelry. Sometimes I wonder if jewelry really is that important. The answer? A resounding yes! For thousands of years jewelry has marked events, defined status and allowed us to show our individuality. I adore creating pieces that people are inherently drawn to. Pieces that will be gifted with great thought and emotion and become heirlooms.”

Sarah was one of the original handful of artists we carried when ESQUELETO first opened its doors 9 years ago. Though she grew up in coastal New England, Sarah has been a long time Bay Area resident. She now lives in Novato with her husband and precious pup Mika, and she opened her own retail shop and studio in Sausalito four years ago. Sarah Swell Jewelry has three very dedicated employees, and Sarah’s husband Scott has even been known to pitch in at the bench too!

Sarah’s work is a study in contrasts – bold, empowering designs that are every-day wearable. Darkly oxidized silver paired with luxe, rich gold. Gleaming diamonds and earthy textures. Sarah’s pieces are inspired by ancient history, nature, and art history, as well as the current trends.

Alexis: What is it that you really, truly love about making jewelry?
Sarah: How tangible it is. I started out as a fine art painter and I always felt a little disconnected from my work. Once I found jewelry, everything clicked. I was able to transform the idea in my head into something that I could not only see, but touch and hold and WEAR. My art no longer needed to be confined to a wall, it could be worn and enjoyed. There's also something primeval about working with fire and metal. Jewelry has existed since the beginning of time, so being able to keep the craft alive also excites me.

A: What about your life as a small business owner is the hardest? What is the most fulfilling?
S: The most challenging part for me is making time to design and not getting bogged down in the day-to-day aspects of managing a small business, which in and of itself is often overwhelming. The most fulfilling part is providing jobs to my local community and creating pieces of work that symbolize important life events or act as talismans for my clients. To see someone years later still wearing a piece that I created and have them tell me it is with them always is true joy for me! 

A: How long have you been in the Bay Area? What is it about this community that you love and keeps you invested here?
S: I've been in the Bay Area 15 years now. Before moving here, I just knew it was the place for me. I had never visited but have been enchanted by the West Coast and the history of innovation, counterculture, arts and diversity since I was a child. When I was young, I would daydream about being alive in the 60's and getting on a bus headed to San Francisco with flowers in my hair - ha! It's a difficult place to live in many ways, but the people here feel like my people and the varied and awe-inspiring landscapes and cityscapes keep me held captive by their beauty. The year-round temperate climate and fresh fruit and veggies help too. 

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