WESTPORT, Conn -- Westport resident Ronit Tarshis grew up with a weaving loom in her living room and says she was beading at age 4. "My mother was an artist and my father was an engineer who spoke seven languages," she says. "I like to say I'm a weird genetic dilemma."
Luckily, that combination Tarshis refers to translates to the perfect combination of creativity and skillfulness when it comes to her 3-year-old jewelry line, Lera Jewels .
The former TV producer for Martha Stewart Television (and Emmy winner) is now a full-time craftsman, creating products out of her home studio, often with a bevvy of local high school girls sitting at her dining room table helping with beading.
What sets her line apart is the mixture of diamonds and gemstones interwoven with fine gold, oxidized silver, leather cord and silk ribbons. "I love doing the unexpected," she says.
In winter, Tarshis does a lot of stones on chains; in summer, it's more a combination of chord and leather.
"A lot of my pieces are just simple," she says. "I think that makes them appealing to all taste levels and ages."
When it comes to her personal "go to," she says you'll find her wearing a long teardrop necklace.
"It steps up any outfit, layers well with anything, and makes me feel good," she says. "In my opinion, jewelry should make you feel fabulous and sexy." (Her items average in the $1,500 to $1,800 range, though you can find something anywhere from $175 to $6,000.)
As to what inspires her? "Anywhere and everywhere," she says. "My kids, the television, movies, you name it."
Tarshis often keeps a running list of new pieces she'd like to make and sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night to work on projects.
And while she doesn't have anything specifically designed for Valentine's Day, she does a lot of rose gold and says that seems to sell well, especially this time of year.
You can find her designs at Lillian August in Greenwich, Dream Spa in Greenwich and Westport, Bianca Boutique in Westport, and Churchills in Mount Kisco. You can also make an appointment at her home studio: 203-856-2301 or www.lerajewels.com .
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