Just a few blocks from the Big Top Flea Market and Riverside Park on the outskirts of Providence, Rhode Island, stands an old industrial building next to murals of nearby wildlife and the Woonasquatucket River. What lurks inside is buried treasure. At least that is what Charlotte Meyer of Charlotte Meyer Designs calls it.
This warehouse is brimming with every kind of new and vintage jewelry that you can imagine. And Charlotte is on a treasure hunt, looking for her next favorite bead, metal, wood or gemstone that she can bring back to her home studio in Old Lyme so she can create more jaw dropping handcrafted necklaces.
“It’s one of the most fun things ever!” Charlotte exclaims. “This is my place of inspiration. Going on pursuits of unusual materials is one of my favorite things to do, you really never know what you will find! I just love the chase.”
Charlotte can spend hours in warehouses like this one, walking up and down the dark and dusty aisles, searching through hundreds of boxes, from floor to ceiling, for some bead, some stone that just catches her eye. (Her husband, who drives her to these places, sits patiently in the car with a good book to read.)
Today she is overjoyed at what she discovered – a bead that is called ‘purple metallic’ with a hint of gold.
“It’s not so much purple as it is plum,” says Charlotte. “And that is really exciting because plum is a big color this fall! Along with gray and olive. I try to stay with the seasons when I go on these searches, but in retail, you are always one season ahead so this place was already chock-a-block full of Christmas decorations. You just have to keep looking.”
Charlotte says she never really knows what comes out of her searches. She just imagines making something beautiful by mixing colors together with unusual combinations of shells and gemstones or wood.
“I like a statement piece,” says Charlotte. “Many people love it because it can bring the outfit back to today – these pieces don’t fade in the background. It’s not your grandmother’s jewelry for sure!”
If you visit Charlotte Meyer Designs’ Facebook page, you can see an array of necklaces that dazzle the eye. One of her latest creations, what she describes as “Sunstone with Indian cranberry glass teardrop beads,” is a double necklace with luscious cranberry beads interspersed with delicate spheres of multicolored sunstone.
“These beads I choose,” says Charlotte, “some are fifty to sixty years old. I like bringing something old into the present.”
She describes her jewelry as “chunky” – and not for the faint of heart.
One necklace she calls the “Multi Color Gemstones for every mood” and is layered with chunky stones, all bright, shiny and happy colors that jump out at you to say ‘Hello!’
That pretty much describes Charlotte’s personality to a T. Not a wallflower in any way, shape or form, Charlotte is larger than life, a bright, sunny personality to match her vibrant jewelry.
“I am a free spirit and sometimes too free and my things are crazy and out there but my friends like that kind of stuff,” says Charlotte.
She says she first got hooked on beads over 12 years ago at an international gem and jewelry show in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
“I fell in love with all the beauty and all the sparkle and it blossomed overnight,” Charlotte says. And that was the end of her 25-year career as a floral designer. Almost overnight.
“I always loved jewelry,” Charlotte says. “My mother had beautiful pieces and it got my attention. When you are a little girl, you look to your mother as an influence.”
As for her own daughters, they are starting to take notice. “You have to be of a certain age to like my jewelry. But one daughter has bought a couple of my pieces. I was so honored!”
Charlotte has no trouble selling her necklaces. One client in Florida has 27 of her works of art.
“Sometimes they even fly off my own neck!”, she says. Her jewelry sells at boutiques in Essex, Darien and Naples, Florida. And she loves doing custom work for her clients.
“One client has told me that my necklaces are like a hug around her neck!”, exclaims Charlotte. “I love telling that story! And I love making jewelry for people, it’s a very personal thing. I’ve met so many wonderful people doing this work.”
For more information contact: Charlotte@charlottemeyerdesigns.com