“There seems to be a consensus among fellow jewelers that I might be a bit crazy for doing so much piercing, but it is the method I learned initially and I find the repetitiveness quite meditative.”
— Elizabeth Stefany
Maine’s beautiful and sweeping outdoors inspires its residents and visitors in different ways. Some are moved to get out and explore, others are roused to create. For Elizabeth Stefany, the owner of Carrabassett Valley Jewelry, it’s both. Stefany handcrafts her jewelry focusing on a sense of place and love of adventure. Stefany said, ”I got much of my early inspiration from the lakes and woods of Maine, and after moving here as an adult, continue to find inspiration in many different outdoor activities, such as skiing and mountain biking.”
Stefany grew up in New Hampshire, but spent her summers at an all-girls camp on Sebago Lake, where she made her first silver pendant. With a love of Maine and jewelry making instilled upon her at a young age, she later chose Bates College in Lewiston to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. After college, she ventured to Carrabassett Valley to teach skiing at Sugarloaf. “I fell in love, and fell in love with the community, so I stayed!” A few years later, Carrabassett Valley Jewelry was born.
Stefany’s jewelry is made from sheets of Argentium sterling silver. She cuts each design out by hand with a jeweler’s saw. Stefany uses a piercing method to create pilot holes where the saw blade will be threaded through to cut out the pendant’s inside design. “There seems to be a consensus among fellow jewelers that I might be a bit crazy for doing so much piercing, but it is the method I learned initially and I find the repetitiveness quite meditative,” said Stefany. Then the piece is hammered into shape. After that, each piece of jewelry travels a different path for its finishing aesthetic touches. Stefany completes each piece of jewelry with her initials and date of completion. “One of my customers’ favorite parts about my production line is that each design set comes with a story or poem that I have written.”
An outdoor enthusiast as reflected in her jewelry designs, it’s only natural that Stefany is also a steward for the environment. All of her sheet silver and wire are sourced from a company that uses reclaimed metal. Stefany also purchases supplies from a company that is powered by solar energy and buys local as often as possible. “I am a firm believer that the little things add up over time to make a significant difference. My biggest fan base consists mainly of people who are interested in being closer to nature.”
Browse Carrabassett Valley Jewelry products in the Down East Shop!