Saara Reidsema, the jeweler behind the small jewelry shop SR66, can read your jewelry style like a physic reads the palm of your hand. With just a glance, this Hayes Valley artist who has been creating (and selling) her own jewelry since she was a toddler – can tell if you’re into boho or modern or classic designs. “Jewelry is such a personal item," she said in her Gough Street studio. "It’s so emotional and it’s nice to be able to carry that on for people."
Her shop is reminiscent of her “kitchen table growing up,” she explains. As a third generation jewelry designer, the bench table and tools were part of her after-school homework projects. At seven, she started selling the crucifixes she created to ward off vampires in her grandmother’s Sarasota jewelry store.
These days the self-proclaimed bench jeweler does a little bit of everything. “The showroom is almost a prototype design studio,” she said.
There's no line specifically designed for her store, or for her Etsy shops. It's all still a work in progress, she explains. "I like pleasing people," she said. The shop features a handful of rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces designed in brass, gold or silver. Everything is unique and entirely handmade. And many pieces are made-to-order leftovers that Saara designed with clients in mind.
As a longtime Bay Area resident (she was born in Berkeley), she has a wide range of skills – everything from minimal repair work and stone settings. “I work my ass off, but magic happens,” she explains.
A proponent of recycling and repurposing, Saara often takes old jewelry, melts it and turns it into something else. "I get to make something beautiful out of some really ugly molds from the '70s," she laughs. She also enjoys fixing pieces too - even if it's junk. "I like saving jewelry because it's so sentimental to people."
Aside from designing and making every piece of jewelry currently displayed in her Hayes Valley location, she also designs and creates jewelry prototypes that are sold to big box stores for mass production. Luckily for Hayes Valley residents, just being within close proximity to Saara’s work means you’re getting original pieces for half the cost. “I make everything – because I make it, there’s no middle man.”
Located at 66 Gough, the former home to Gangs of San Francisco, Saara officially opened her doors for business a year ago. She’d formerly had a small 15x15 square foot basement space on Turk and often met with clients for custom work in coffee shops. These days her shop, open Thursday through Saturday from 1-7pm, offers the space to display her design aesthetic, provides a showroom/meeting space for clients, and acts as a workspace.
“I’m not a traditional jewelry store," Saara says. "[The store] is my personal lab to understand how people react to things." People have been reacting pretty well. Apart from showing her work at art shows like Urban Air Market and Crucible in Oakland, Saara has two booming Etsy shops.
Be sure to check out SR66's work, on display this weekend at the Urban Air Market, or stop by her shop during normal business hours.
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