Whether crafting keepsake jewelry for customers or hanging out with her family, Sentimental Artisan Mom on the Street Rachel Lauer Thomas always brings a creative spirit to the world.
Read on to learn more about this caring, artistic mom who’s a fourth-generation jewelry maker.
My family has been in the jewelry business for decades, and now I have my own products to offer. My dad showed me the value of sentimental jewelry, and I have vivid memories of customers requesting to speak to the “artist” to give praise. I remember the humble smile and firm handshake he would greet them with. I strive to be more like him every day. I have had a creative spark ever since I was a little girl. Over the years, I experimented with different mediums and have found a few that ignited my spirit. I thank God for all of this! As my relationship with God has grown, so has my passion.
Sentimental Artisan Business Beginnings
When did you first become interested in creating jewelry? It sounds like it has been a part of your family for years. Tell us a little more about this and how you got started?
My family has been in the jewelry business for four generations now, starting with my great-grandfather as a watchmaker. Growing up, I’d love to browse our family’s store and see all the “pretties.” But my heart was in the shop! I couldn’t wait to see what my dad was working on! I remember all the sounds and equipment vividly. Now, most of those are in my own shop! I still admire his calloused hands. Just this past week, I came across a necklace I made out of yarn and huge pony beads I made when I was maybe five years old. I suppose this has been a part of who I am!
When did you start your jewelry business?
I started my business, Rachel Lauer Thomas Jewelry, eight years ago. Back then, it was primarily wire-wrapped jewelry. When my father moved out of state four years ago, he handed down all of his equipment to me. I dove into silver and goldsmithing, and I’m so glad I did! It’s proven to be a natural, God-given talent!
What sorts of jewelry do you sell, and what made you especially interesting in incorporating elements like ashes, flowers, and breastmilk – which are very special to families?
Most of the jewelry I make is silver or gold smithed keepsakes. These keepsakes include breastmilk, cremated remains, funeral flowers, wedding flowers, or any sentimental material that can be used! I create everything by hand, so there is an artisan flare, and no two are alike!
Sentimental Artisan Jewelry
What is one of your favorite jewelry pieces you have ever made?
One of my favorite pieces I made was with a beautiful blue and green stone called azurite. It was a pear shape with silver leaves and crushed opal surrounding it. On the reverse side of the necklace, there was a compass. This pendant sat on my bench for weeks. I’d make a little progress in between orders, then stop when I lost inspiration. The night after I finally finished it, I had a dream where I saw a beautiful compass in the sky. I took that as a “God wink” that no matter what I create, His hand is on it!
What sort of jewelry do you enjoy working on most?
My favorite designs implement both sentimental material and natural stone. It definitely makes a statement!
What is the inspiration behind your work?
God. I pray every time I step into my shop. I ask for His guidance and blessing over each piece. When it comes to keepsake jewelry, I sit down with my clients and get to know them, their loved ones, their breastfeeding journey, or their wedding. Of course, inspiration comes in the conversations, but my experience has been that if I just go with the flow of the keepsake, it ends up exactly as it should be!
Rewards, Challenges, and Family Support
What are some of the most challenging and rewarding parts of being a business owner and creator?
The most challenging part of being a business owner is discipline. Most of my work is done late at night or early morning! The most rewarding part, hands down, would be every encounter I have with clients when they receive their keepsake. Emotion is raw, including appreciation and grief. Creating something so special is a tremendous honor!!
Do your family and friends support you as an artist? If so, how do they help you in your work/artist endeavors?
My husband has been my biggest support! He encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and pushes me to keep growing! My daughter is always eager to watch and help me work. Even though my dad is out of state, I can call or video chat with him at any time and ask for direction. My mom, too, of course, helps with the emotional side. I’ve had friends come and help with vendor shows, share my work on social media, and give me honest feedback.
Where can people find you online or on social media?
Sentimental Artisan Style
Which three words best describe your style?
Artisan, Sentimental, & Made With Love.
What are your favorite places to shop?
Thrift stores and garage sales!!!!
Who’s your favorite style icon?
Hmmm. . . I guess I’ll say the average woman. We all have so many unique styles to bring to the table. I pull elements from people I meet anywhere.
What’s your best style advice?
Green is a neutral!
What article of clothing/accessory would you not want to live without?
My green knit sweater. I can dress it up or down.
Which trend would you want to see make a comeback?
I can’t think of one, but I am very excited to see flared jeans coming back!
What should NEVER make a comeback?
Thongs as fashion.
What fashion/style did you love at the time but now cringe when you see old photos?
Studded belt… yikes!
What’s your best style secret?
Pearls are the last on and first off!
Stilettos or flats?
Sentimental Artisan Family
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family?
We love watching UFC together and thrifting!
Best parenting advice:
Don’t take yourself so seriously.
Parenting true confession:
Timers have been the key to clean up, potty training, and even my “morning prayer time”!
What’s your go-to family dinner?
Roast with veggies in the instapot. And chicken nuggets.
What’s your favorite family restaurant?
A local restaurant called Hunan. It has been my husband and my go-to since I introduced him to it eight years ago! They have amazing sushi and fried rice!
Sentimental Artisan Life
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch?
It was Game of Thrones… We love Ozark too!
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be?
Maybe Emily Blunt? She looks most like me…
What’s your favorite beach read?
The Bible or the other Big Book.
What song would you dance to when nobody’s watching?
Lately, in my shop, I’ve been singing and dancing (and working) to 2000’s alternative rock. My favorite song I can’t help but dance to is Blue October’s Oh My My. I’ll play it on repeat for an hour!
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list?
We have a dear friend who now has a beautiful farm in Alabama. We will be visiting when God makes it happen! That is definitely the top travel priority!!
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day?
Watch my husband and daughter play and work in my shop.
Creative Jewelry Lifestyle
We love how Rachel pours a personality full of humbleness, creativity, and grace into her jewelry business and life. We are inspired by her sentimental artisan style and way of handling motherhood with love and expression.