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“She’s a rocky isle in the ocean…” Jennifer Bonnell grew up in Glovertown, with members of the band Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers in the community, and she always loved “Song for Newfoundland”.
So when she started her own handmade jewelry business, the lyrics made the perfect name for her Newfoundland artisan creations that were largely inspired by her home.
Jennifer started designing jewelry for herself – she saw things online that she loved, and figured she could make them.
After experimenting with designs, she began making gifts for friends and family, and soon decided to give selling a try. The artisan jewler in her was realized, and the Rocky Isle sales started coming in.
Hand made jewelry is always special. One of Jennifer’s most iconic creations is her berry-inspired designs: her shop is often filled with jam jars of blueberries, raspberries, and her wildly popular bakeapples.
But it’s not just fruit that inspires her – she chooses beads that spark the imagination. She might see cotton candy, currents of coean water, or a tiny galaxy.
Jennifer loves designs that let people look at and tell themselves a story about what it is – a dragon, or the world, a pot of honey, or the past. Sometimes the artisan crafted works are abstract, and sometimes the jewelry is part of an unfolding story.
Often people come to her with an idea and a stone, and Jennifer creates from there.
Jennifer is also earning a reputation as a restorationist. Restoration services are in high demand. "Many people have heirloom pieces that are precious but not wearable for one reason or another. It's a really good feeling to bring that piece, and all the memories they hold, back to the person to enjoy."
This is bit of a niche area of specialization, and there's a re-creationist skill artisan expertise as well. Jennifer has really enjoyed the fine detail of designing a new piece using gemstones or components of an old beloved piece.
Rocky Isle is evolving its jewelry lines as it evolves as a company.
Labradorite is showing up more and more in Jennifer's work. She loves it because it's beautiful, and the local affiliation. She says, "Labradorite reflects like no other stone, and it gives a depth to each piece that changes with the wearer, and the light."
Jennifer is also becoming known for her work in sea glass and ceramic beads, and is really excited about her line of Vintage inspired pewter pieces.
"People are so ready for the gorgeous bold settings of vintage style. Think Game of Thrones - and they are so exciting to make," she says. Strong pendant necklaces make a bold statement of style.
Another new series, Mystic Ocean, will use gemstones and glass sculptures with the look of opal. And there's a whole new line in Phocal Stone Designs.
In addition to being a creative spirit, Jennifer is an environmentalist, and this is very important to her when it comes to packaging her products for shipment. Whenever she receives a delivery, she keeps the bubble wrap and reuses it. She has also invested in biodegradable and recyclable packaging, and customers can request that their purchases be sent in 100% recyclable materials.
Jennifer credits a suppotive community with her success, and loves giving back. Her Forget-Me-Not brooches mean something very special in Newfoundland and Labrador, and she's honoured to contribute proceeds from those sales to the veteran organizations.
Jennifer mostly sells online at the moment, but she is looking at getting into local shops, and she has partnerships with other businesses in order to expand her offerings. She is looking forward to breaking into the local market and sharing her Newfoundland-inspired jewelry with other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, people who come to the province for a visit, and lovers of beautiful things the world over.