Sunday, February 23, 2014


Stainless Steel & Bamboo Longevity Necklace
with Bat Motif
A place of stunning natural beauty Jiuzhaigou Valley is a remarkable area of pristine lakes, waterfalls, and a variety of flora and fauna.  

Located in China’s Nanjing County, the Jiuzhaigou Valley’s beautiful landscapes is the habitat of the Great Panda.  

China is also the ancestral home of featured jewelry designer Melissa Lew Bradford.

There are some jewelry creations that singularly hold gorgeous glamour.  Although designs may represent a particular theme or possess alternately demure or bold personalities there is something lacking.

When I viewed Bradford’s online gallery, I immediately recognized the element missing in some designer jewelry brands.  The surface beauty is there—no question—but Bradford’s creations seem enveloped in an aura of cultural pride.

The Washington D.C. based jeweler’s adept craftsmanship highlighted in relief work of floral water and fish is exquisitely poetic.   Her rustic and graceful aesthetic drew me in.

Incredibly Bradford is self-taught.  She learned the craft of jewelry making in 2005 while employed as a graphic designer.  As is the case with many jewelry artists just starting out, Bradford created designs for her own use.

Once friends, family members and co-workers began asking her about the jewelry she wore, Bradford warmed to turning her hobby into a full-fledged business (although she still works as a graphic designer).

“My parents encouraged me to explore the arts.  In fact, my mother and I used to make jewelry in the kitchen when I was a child.  

Love Repaid Necklace
My jewelry is representative of my Chinese-American background in two ways:  The first is the jewelry is a Western take on traditional Chinese art forms.  The second is Chinese culture has great esteem for nature so I use recycled fine silver, bamboo and stainless steel in my jewelry creations.

I love the idea of raising awareness while making eye-catching jewelry.  It is possible to be chic and green at the same time,” she says the award-winning jeweler and alumna of George Mason University.

Bradford also creates to help make the world a better place.  Facets, Becky’s Fund, and the Stymie Canine Cancer Foundation are a few non-profits the designer shares profits garnered from the sale of her Cherry Blossom designs.

“Giving back gives my work meaning.  It makes my work more than just a pretty thing to wear, but something that means something to someone.  This makes me want to create even more.”

Bradford’s lyrical jewelry creations are available for purchase at New York’s AsiaStore, Washington D.C.’s Library of Congress as well as her official website.

Recycle Pure Silver Agape Necklace
2014 Jewelry Trend AlertBradford is a skilled artisan and this attention intricate detail (in some cases minimal) is on trend this year.
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