One of the things Crystal Wambeke enjoys seeing when people peruse her jewelry at various craft shows is their response.
Wambeke designs and creates jewelry and accessories under the name C. Marie Jewelry.
About four to five years ago, Wambeke said her best friend from Sturgis, S.D., introduced her to jewelry making.
Photo by Cindy Votruba
Crystal Wambeke designs one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories for women. She was introduced to the craft by a friend of hers from South Dakota.
"She makes jewelry too, and I just fell in love with it," Wambeke said.
It was just only a year ago when she decided to start selling her pieces.
"Everyone encouraged me," Wambeke said.
Wambeke said she does custom orders as well.
"I try to do a lot of things - something for everybody," Wambeke said about her jewelry creations.
Wambeke said she's very careful in going to different places to get her materials for making jewelry.
"I don't want to have the same sort of thing everyone else sells," Wambeke said. "I like to keep it interesting."
"I like to design stuff I like to wear," she added.
Some of the custom orders Wambeke has made includes a mother-of-the-bride necklace and bracelet set she made for her own mother for her sister's wedding.
Then there was another order she did for a customer.
"She wanted certain colors to match a certain outfit," Wambeke said.
Wambeke said that particular order was a challenge.
"I had to search high and low for the perfect beads," Wambeke said.
Sometimes her search for the "perfect beads" takes her many places. Wambeke recalled the time she was visiting a museum. She walked into the gift shop and found some beads that she just had to have. She made matching necklaces for her mother, her sister and herself.
Wambeke recently got into making leather cuffs. She said she uses recycled leather to make them.
"I'll put little accents and details on the leather, or rhinestones," she said.
She's still relatively new to the craft, learning the different application processes.
"It's been super-fun to figure it out," Wambeke said about working with leather.
Wambeke said that she enjoys doing craft shows in the summer, meeting people and seeing their reactions to her creations. She's shown her items at the Minneapolis Women's Expo and Brookings' Crazy Days, among other shows.
Wambeke said she also does jewelry repair, custom orders for all occasions as well as jewelry parties. Her items can be seen on her website at www.cmariejewelry.com.
"Ideally I would love to design for a store or a brand," she said.