The Sara Collar fits around the base of your neck. It’s a 15-inch gold chain. Four simple gold tabs dangle just above the collarbone. Designer Christine Zezza would like you to know: The $72 necklace will not turn your neck green.
That’s because the Sara Collar, named after Zezza’s older sister, is made from 14K gold melted with brass. It’s not made with brass polished to look like gold, and it’s not made with gold-plated brass, either, both of which tarnish, oxidize and turn that greenish hue. The outer layer is thick.
The materials in the necklace come from downtown Los Angeles, where Zezza attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising to study marketing and merchandising. While there, a friend taught her to make jewelry. Initially a part-time passion, a trip to Europe in summer 2016 helped Zezza realize life can be simple. Prior to leaving, she quit a corporate job that was making her miserable. She loves making jewelry. She had brought her wares to shows in Chicago and sold freelance in stores. So she gathered the tools she needed, moved back to Hudson, set up a studio in her dad’s garage and made it work. She named JoeLuc Jewelry after her grandparents, Joseph and Lucielle, who passed away before she could tell them how much they had impacted her career.
Zezza sources her metals domestically, mostly out of California. Semi-precious stones like opal and garnet ship in from wherever she can find them. Her standard gold-filling process contributes to her best seller, the Bar + Chain bracelet ($55), for everyday wear. Another hit: the delicate Stone Ear Chain, $50, decorates the ear’s upper cartilage and lower lobe with topaz, peridot, amethyst and spinel wrapped in 14 karat gold.
Purchase JoeLuc Jewelry online or in Minneapolis at Statement Boutique in the North Loop.