Jewelry With a Special Meaning
On the front
of the 14 carat gold pendant that has seven diamonds in a ball is a tiny
sculpture of woman holding her baby. On the back of the pendant, there
is a prayer written by the designer that reads, “My beautiful child I
love you so. How much I prayed for you. I want you to know. A precious
gift from the Lord up above. Never have I felt a greater love.” Such
jewelry designed by Susan Howard has brought tears to people’s eyes, but
that is what she wants.
thing about this is each piece has a prayer that I wrote, and women are
getting very emotional about this piece.” Ms. Howard said of the pendant
which she has named A Greater Love. “My whole passion for designing this
jewelry is based upon opening the doors to people’s emotions.”
is part of a line Ms. Howard is designing called Comfort Wear Jewelry.
All of the jewelry designed has meaning to a person’s life. They each
have symbolic pictures on the front and a prayer on the back. The line
will address not only the joyous events of people’s lives, but also
their difficulties. She has designed memorial jewelry meant to bring
comfort to people grieving the loss of a loved one, whether it be the
death of a child, parent, spouse, sudden death or military spouse. There
are inspirational prayers on the back of each piece that are specific to
the situation and are written by Ms. Howard.
something that I’m passionate about,” Ms. Howard, a 1985 graduate of
Somerset High School, said. “I love emotions, good or bad. It keeps me
connected to the human emotions that we all have.”
Wear Jewelry will be available at Pierce Jewelers on County Street in
Somerset and at Hannoush Jewelers in the Swansea Mall. Ms. Howard said
Stuller, the largest jewelry manufacturer in the United States, is
interested in the line.
“My goal for
this product and for the whole line is for it to be in countless jewelry
stores for consumers to be able to purchase,” Ms. Howard said.
has a couple of favorite pieces in the Comfort Wear Jewelry line. One
addresses forgiveness. On the front of the pendant is a dove in flight,
carrying an olive branch, representing deliverance and the peace one
feels when granting or receiving forgiveness. The other favorite is
designed to help people overcome difficulties. The pendant has an eagle
in flight with a cross, representing strength, courage and triumph.
There are prayers on the backs of both pieces. But the piece that is
closest to her heart addresses people coping with disabilities, their
caregivers, family members and friends. The piece, entitled A Beautiful
Treasure, was inspired by her friend who is a quadriplegic, but who has
touched so many people by sending them messages via e-mail which she
types with one finger and a back scratcher. Ms. Howard said the
friendship she has with that person has been her greatest gift from God.
The front of the piece has a treasure chest on it and there is a prayer
on the back.
a Christian jewelry designer, sketches the designs for the pendants
before sending them to a manufacturer. She had local artist Bryan Fox do
some finishing work for her pictures. Then the designs are sent to a
sculptor who makes a clay model. A plastic model of the piece is created
and then tool makers use a machine to trace it and cut it into a piece
of steel. The piece is hardened and driven into a die so that the pieces
can be stamped out.
“I do all of
the polish work.” Ms. Howard said.
said she truly owes her career to Somerset High School. When she was a
student at the high school, Ms. Howard said she was thinking of going to
college to become a teacher, like her father, Thomas Lachance. But art
teacher, Amy Goulart encouraged her to go to the Jewelry Institute. Ms.
Howard said she seemed to have a natural talent for making jewelry from
the time she came to the high school.
were truly amazed at what I was able to do with minimal tools at the
high school,” Ms. Howard said.
graduating from the Jewelry Institute, Ms. Howard worked at a store in
Brockton for three years and then developed her own business at home.
She has worked for Kay Jewelers in the Swansea Mall and has done work
for Zales and Whitehall.
“I have a
very long list of private clients who call me when they want a special
piece,” Ms. Howard said. “I’m back working at home.”
said she can not wear nice clothes while she is doing her goldsmith’s
job because it is very dusty and grimy work.
“It is a
dirty job,” Ms. Howard said. “You can not have nice nails. It’s almost
like mechanics’ fingers.”
said she has survived in the jewelry business by doing repairs.
always has broken jewelry,” Ms. Howard said. “I’ve never met a piece of
jewelry I couldn’t fix. I do get joy out of bringing an old piece back
to its original state and there’s always a supply of work.”
said it was difficult to make it in the jewelry business as a woman. She
said there were not many women in the business when she first started.
She said there are more female goldsmiths today.
has been working at home, Ms. Howard and her brother, Scott Lachance,
have started a religious jewelry web store. This is where the idea for
the Comfort Wear line came from.
get calls from people all over the country for a piece that had true
meaning behind it in relation to something they were going through,” Ms.
Howard started writing messages on crosses. She says her creative spirit
came from this experience.
husband, Shaun, is a teacher and they have three children, Hannah, 7,
Rebecca, 6, and Sarah, 3. They are inspirations for her work, especially
the A Greater Love piece, which is also made in sterling silver, has
drawn strong reactions from many people so far.
response I have received to it has been tremendous, from mothers giving
them to daughters for weddings, from mothers giving them to little
girls.” Ms Howard said. “It kind of presents the love that the mother
feels for that child.”