I wasn’t aware how fascinating cinnamon and even a little mustard seed could be until I met Kristina, who designs unique jewelry with decorative spices. A lovely and meaningful gift – not only for Christmas. If you are as mesmerized by her work as I am, don’t worry! Through her Etsy shop international shipping is possible. Find the details below at the end of Kristina’s story.
It would have been wonderful to drive through this area in spring or summer. She lives in the woods, says Kristina. In Idar-Oberstein, a small German town in the Hunsrück, which some of you may know as the famous actor Bruce Willis was born here. But hardly anyone knows that once upon a time there were gems and until today most of Germany’s jewelry designers are trained here.
The most beautiful art of aromatherapy
For myself, I could have hardly decided. But what I wanted to give to my mum was quite sure: small, braided silver beads from which the fragrance of tonka beans and vanilla is flowing until today. “These spices provide a sense of tranquility,” Kristina explained to me. “The Tonka is also a good luck charm.”
I know how to create harmony or tension using spices in the kitchen and what positive effect they have on the body and soul if you eat them, also in connection with aromatherapy.
There’s nothing more sensual for me than the fragrance of fresh grounded and roasted coriander and if our little house smells like cinnamon and cloves after baking Christmas cookies these days.
But I was neither aware how decorative many of these spices are, nor that they can create an emotional effect even as a piece of jewelry.
“I’m sorry, I wanted to bake a cake for you, but yesterday I could spontaneously show off my jewelry.” That’s how Kristina radiantly welcomed me into the “garage” she shares with her husband as well as the passion with which she sees the beauty of old, used, everyday and seemingly banal things.
Pieces of rolled cinnamon on filigree silver wires are dangling from her ears. What a stunningly beautiful combination of her dark red knitted coat I think. But she already pulled it off and went down the two steps into a doll kitchen that is pure eye candy for me.
An old, wooden Asian cabinet is hanging on the wall over an Art Nouveau sink on which a bright blue vintage camp stove is boiling water. A forged glass door hides a shower. “We used to live here,” Kristina explains. “I’m preparing a cup of tea for us if you like. It’s a herbal tea with honey from the mountains of South Bulgaria where I grew up.”
Of course, I do like, very much indeed!
Discovering nature’s beauty
Later I will learn that my welcome tea stands for longevity and that the people in the mountain villages attribute this tea their nearly 100 years of life in good health. And that maybe it was this time of stargazing with her father, an astrophysicist, that made her so sensitive to the little miracles around her.
But first, Paul Markus, her husband, leads me through their workspace, or better: through time and space. It’s a short, intense walk through the life of both, their soul, their character, and visions. A knotty branch becomes an angel with wings of agate and a little power of imagination. A smiling stone is reminiscent of the Mona Lisa. A burned piece of driftwood, polished, here and there deposed with gold, could indeed show Mary and the baby Jesus in profile.
Apart from the impressive old Steinway grand piano which Paul Markus restores, the room is full of art objects, antiques, and curiosities.
Inbetween all these things – that may be accessible for and experienced by public one time in the form of a museum cafe – Kristina’s workplace seems like it takes only a square meter space.
From the very beginning Kristina workes with materials that are given value just by what she sees them. In her first works small river stones are centerpieces, eroded, threaded and connected with gold and silver, sometimes with silicone to pieces of jewelry.
Raw potatoes or rough diamonds?
The first gem made of plants was a bracelet of delicately cut potatoes. From afar they look like rough diamonds. “I remembered that in kindergarten I used to craft a potato-bracelet for my mum for Mother’s Day. The potato pieces were much bigger then, and yet it worked.”
Then she experiments with rice grains and pepper, which is not new at all. “In the 17th century, I learn,”pepper in England was so expensive that wealthy ladies threaded the berries like pearls on a thin gold thread and wear them as a necklace.
Decorative spices as a lucky charm
The “Tales of 1001 night” tell about the aphrodisiac effect of cardamon. Silver-plated they not only look delightful. In India, they are served for dessert. In many of her designs, Kristina plays with them. No wonder, as cardamon belongs to her favorite spices. I especially love the combination with darkly wooded eucalyptus in various forms.
With my jewelry I would like to convey nature’s beauty and harmony. From her we can draw strenght for every day life.
Every spice has its story, a special effect. Pepper is known for its antibacterial action. Nutmeg inspires love. Tumeric not only detoxifies but in India, this plant is also a magical lucky charm.
Some spices Kristina smokes, others she intensifies with natural essential oils. She likes to contrast them with gems, silver or gold. But the plant is always her star.
With her eyes open, Kristina spots more and more enchanting spices and plants all the time. The incredible variety of eucalyptus, little borage seeds with its tiny white pearls. Bright red and purple magic beans, betel nuts and even micro mustard seeds. And with her infinite patience, everything becomes a unique piece of jewelry and gift for the women who wears it.
Some pieces are affordable. Others are exclusive even without gemstones because it takes so much time to create them.
“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed…”
That’s what the Bible says. You don’t have to be religious to wear a necklace of mustard beads. But how beautiful is the gesture of giving courage with a piece of jewelry?
As well as the idea of combining it with a tiny little vial of seeds – to give back something to mother earth one time.
Besides from what she is spotting herself, the lovely artist is already getting materials from enthusiastic customers, neighbors and the Hamburg Spice Museum – who has just as spontaneously fallen in love with her jewelry as I did.
Kristina’s works are exhibited and sold here for several years.
Phone: +49 (0) 6781 35078