Jewelry designer Jesse Warshauer of Half Moon Bay, whose parents Jay and Patti raised him in the family business of Main Street Goldworks, was recently recognized with awards from the Master Independent Jewelers Organization.
At the recent Master IJO Spring Conference in Orlando, Fla., Warshauer received the Creativity and Design Award for the two designs he had submitted in two different price categories. His “Illumination Pendant” positions a diamond in the center of a graceful, sophisticated abstract design. Designed during the holidays, he said it “embodies” holiday candles and warmth.
His other winning design is the “Spindrift Pendant,” which incorporates the image of an ocean wave curling gracefully around the centerpiece diamond or precious stone.
“It’s just a nice abstract free-form concept,” he said of the Spindrift design, which reflected elements of the “Moonglow” design his mother had created. He said a pendant with the design was purchased by a woman customer who was beginning a course of chemotherapy, as her “way of riding this wave” of treatment. Eventually she bought gifts of the same pendant for sisters and close friends who supported her through the treatment.
Warshauer’s designs were selected from among some two dozen entries and were perused by hundreds of jewelers and designers.
Warshauer, preferring to limit his tools to a small set, hand-carved the designs in wax before casting them in metal and hand-finishing and polishing them. “You get a better feel for things that way, I’ve found,” he said.
Born and raised on the Coastside, Warshauer won his first art contest at age 4 with a Hallmark Easter Egg drawing of a basket with candy and toys. He trained at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts.
But his influences and elements that blended to make his approach as a jewelry designer came from many sources. Into his formative background he brings his travels: He had studied in Australia, taught English in South Korea and spent some time in a kibbutz in Israel, after which he was encouraged by his mother to try to express in carving his impressions from his experiences. Into it all, he mixes coming from a multi-generational family business approaching 25 years in Half Moon Bay.
“It’s extremely gratifying to be with something (his parents) put their lives into, and now I’m playing a role in it, a significant role,” said Warshauer, now 27. “To be able to put my role side by side with their work, it’s a real honor to (be) in this multiple-generation family business. It’s a real blessing in itself.”
And to see his work presented at the conference, projected onto a screen in front of hundreds of his professional peers, was “for me a great honor,” he said.
The economy did not harm the business as much as might be expected. It did cause changes in the way the family uses and recycles materials, and resulted in an influx of more sterling silver as opposed to gold jewelry.
“It’s still a luxury gift item,” he said. “People still make purchases in that type of expression. They still give gifts in these crucial times.”
Main Street Goldworks, where Warshauer’s designs are on display in the front cases, is located at 542 Main St. in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at 726-2546.