I come from a long line of jewelry lovers. My grandmother is the queen of baubles. My mother and my aunt never leave the house without multiple accessories and my sister and I are always wearing earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches and rings. What can I say, we're drawn to bling!
I recently met Boston-based jewelry designer Heather Matjasic, the founder of O.H.M. Jewelry. Her company's tag line is "Jewelry for a meaningful life." That is definitely a mantra I can get behind.
I had the chance to talk to Heather about moving to Boston, 3D printing at M.I.T., importing jewelry and the importance of building community. Read on to learn more about her story and of course, see the loot!
PBS: You relocated to Boston one year ago. What made you decide to move to Beantown?
HM: I moved to Boston for a job opportunity. I've been working on O.H.M. Jewelry mostly part-time during the evenings and weekends. Of the many cities I’ve lived in, I have been inspired by the demographic of brilliant, innovative students, professionals and entrepreneurs!
PBS: Has living in Boston inspired any new pieces or collections?
HM: Yes! I partnered with M.I.T. Media Lab on creating 3D printed pendants of my logo, including sterling silver and mixed materials. Someday, I aspire to employ silversmiths - preferably of Native American descent and from Bali - both having long lineages of tremendous silversmithing skills. However, this partnership with M.I.T. was able to provide me customization with metals in the short-term. I aim to preserve the culture and craftsmanship of the old, while embracing the new in my designs, thus this was a perfect collaboration.
PBS: Which beads, stone or metals are your favorite to work with? Personally, I am obsessed with druzy right now.
HM: I use all real gemstones in my designs with an affordable price-point. I was frustrated with purchasing say, $100 necklaces from my favorite departments stores that were made of only cheap materials. O.H.M. Jewelry provides the opportunity for everyone to own wearable, quality jewelry. Additionally, I try to incorporate materials handmade by other artists around the world - tassels handmade in Rajasthan, India, pendants from Nepal and Ethiopia, African beads or inlay beads from Tibet. My favorite part of the design process is incorporating these materials. Additionally, pearls are always a classic and a favorite! I also plan to incorporate more sterling silver and gold in the future.
PBS: If you had to point to two or three pieces that really summarize O.H.M. Jewelry, which would those be?
HM: My first choice would be The Princess Lariat from The Queen’s Collection. I partnered with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to donate 15% of sales from the lariats in this collection to this great cause.
This partnership was inspired by a battle a very close family member had with a rare form of breast cancer. This person was diagnosed shortly after I lost my father and both grandparents within a three month time period.
Having the lariats featured at events honoring Tory Burch and at an event alongside Chanel and Hermes where Elton John performed was such a humbling and tremendous honor. Especially meaningful, since the collection was inspired from one of the most difficult times in my life.
The Princess Lariat’s uses of over 180 freshwater pearls with sterling silver pave crystal tassel caps and tassels handmade by artists in Rajasthan, India - the meaning, the materials, the modern touch of using a classic stone - speak directly to the intention behind O.H.M. Jewelry and growing it as a social enterprise.
Secondly, I love these friendship bracelets! They are fun, bright, delicate and perfect to share with your besties. They feature beautiful stones of turquoise and jade, Swarovski crystal, and a choice of a lotus, druzy, ohm coin or ohm symbol charm.
At $28 dollars, a perfect addition to your ‘party arm’ of stacked bracelets.
And lastly, I’d say this Onyx, Tibetan Bead and 14K Gold bracelet from the Men’s Collection. Men are a big component of my client base. I have yogis, fathers, husbands, DJs, singers and athletes that wear O.H.M. Jewelry. O.H.M. Jewelry has been seen on one of the Bob Marley sons, and Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor did not take off his custom bracelet throughout his experience at the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl last year.
PBS: One of your goals is to help employee people all over the world. Tell us more about that.
HM: Yes, the intention is to create a little more unity and community in the world. To employ and honor many cultures - their craftsmanship, their beauty, their designs - and bring them all together through O.H.M. Jewelry. I want to create opportunities to “keep the craft alive” for families and artists that may only know how to provide for their family and community via the skill sets that have been passed down for lineages.
PBS: People may not realize that your background is in the professional sports industry. How did you transition from that to launching O.H.M. Jewelry?
HM: Working in college football and with the NFL and ESPN taught me tremendous discipline, work ethic, the belief in oneself, maximizing talents and abilities, a never give up attitude, the ability to problem solve and to produce in high stress, timely environments. I first left the industry to take care of family before they passed away, went back in the industry and was out again. This transition, about five years, was actually a time of heartbreak for me - personally, professionally - but looking back my heart didn’t break into pieces, it broke open and O.H.M. Jewelry was launched.
PBS: Thank you, Heather, for sharing your journey.
I was so inspired by my conversation with Heather that I lost a good hour falling down the rabbit hole of the O.H.M. Jewelry website.