For Spring Hill jewelry artists Cliff and Hee Ja Anello, each bracelet, ring or pendant they make is a labour of love.
The couple specializes in transforming original, vintage, silver-plated spoons from as early as the 1800s to create one-of-a-kind fine jewelry.
Cliff said he was inspired to make jewelry when he retired from the Army after 22 years of service.
“I had no idea of what I wanted to do until my sister, Andi, told me of an idea she had and then I was sold,” he said. “So now my wife, Hee Ja and I, have been making jewelry together for 7 years and we love it.”
Hee Ja manages the marketing, sales and administration; Cliff creates the jewelry with a lot of artistic input from Hee Ja.
“What we do with spoon jewelry is very creative and we wanted our pieces to be feminine and unique,” said Hee Ja. “We get ideas for things I’ve never seen before just by handling the silverware,” Hee Ja confesses. “We’ll figure out how to refine it and then we’ll experiment with making it.”
The couple market their jewelry online and export to several different countries including Germany, Britain, Australia, Belgium and Canada.
Cliff has his workshop in the garage of their home in Spring Hill, his workbench neatly displaying all the tools required for polishing, drilling and shaping metal — a drill press, mandrels, a Dremel rotary and various other tools and equipment for etching metal. He uses a hammer against an old metal bed frame to pound texture into the silverware.
“Sometimes I use heat to manipulate the metal better but mostly I use the mandrels here on my workbench to bend and shape,” he said.
A mandrel is a cylindrical rod around which metal or other material is forged or shaped and come in all different sizes.
Picking up one of his sister’s business cards, Cliff indicated where she had marked the exact length where to cut the handle of a spoon to create a bracelet.
“This is the most important tool for me,” said Cliff. “I’ll never lose this.”
Within easy reach is a tall metal rack filled with all the silver-plated treasures and odds and ends the couple has gathered from flea markets, estate sales and antique or second-hand stores. Each bag bursting with beautiful flatware, all labelled with the name of the pattern, where the items were made and the year of manufacture.
Creating fine jewelry is intricate work. Hee Ja is an expert at the fine soldering required and also assembles the pieces.
“We only pick vintage, quality spoons and cutlery,” said Cliff. “We have a lot of fun finding all our pieces and we get really excited when we find a pattern we’ve not seen before.”
The couple explained that they do considerable research on silverware patterns and their heritage. Each piece of silverware they discover has provenance and so the couple gives each piece of jewelry they make its very own “birth certificate.”
“So many of our customers love it when they can buy something that that originated in the year of their birth,” said Hee Ja. “And each customer can choose a charm, crystal or birthstone to attach to the bracelets we make,” she said.
The couple not only makes bracelets. There’s a huge variety of items that can be made from knives, forms and spoons. Items like rings, pendants, earrings, wind chimes, crosses, peace signs and keyrings for example.
“Each part of the silverware is useful,” explained Cliff. “The end of the spoon near the bowl is perfect for earrings,” he said. “And for rings, we bend the whole of the spoon handle.”
“It took me a while to research how to make the clasp on our bracelets work efficiently,” he said. “But I researched and finally found a company that made these powerful but tiny, silver-plated magnets.”
“Many of our customers bring their own pieces of silverware that have been passed down through generations to be customized,” Cliff said.
“They’ve asked for watches, insects, fish and manatees even. We’ll also search for any particular charms our customers want.”
Each weekend, the couple sell their jewelry at the Hernando County Farmers Market located in the Rural King parking lot, off US19 at 2450 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, Florida.
The Anellos’ handmade jewelry has vintage, inventive appeal. These timeless pieces bring elegance, beauty, and a bit of nostalgia to your collection.
Silver Wear Spoon Jewelry make elegent jewelry handcrafted from vintage, antique silver plated spoons.
Their bracelets come with Swarovski crystals and silver-plated charms.Pendants have sterling necklaces.They also craft spoon rings,earrings, keychains, bud vases, and wind chimes.
Phone (352) 942-7372