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Taylor's Staff Picks

We all know the beautiful designs Beth Millner Jewelry is known for: layered landscapes, adorable creatures, and detailed trees. So, when I started working here, I was surprised to see all of the options outside of these categories. I instantly gravitated towards these simple and abstract pieces. Being somewhat of a minimalist, I often go for jewelry that can pair easily with everything in my closet. Below are my favorite BMJ pieces that would fit into any minimalist's wardrobe.

Copper Lake Superior Agate Pendant

Beth's collection of copper laced agates were the first pieces that caught my eye. Tiny glints of copper within the agate texture makes for one of the most interesting stones I've seen. The small drop pendants are my favorite use of this stone. I love that the stones come right from Lake Superior, so while wearing this pendant I'm carrying a piece of the UP with me.

Mini Rustic Upper Peninsula of Michigan Ring

This ring is another subtle way to represent the UP. I like that the Upper Peninsula outline is small enough as not to clash with anything I pair it with. I absolutely love the look of double-banded rings on my thumb. It feels bold and funky, just how a thumb ring should.

Textured Silver Ring

Another ring I've been eyeing is this 3mm silver band. The hammered texture (called Moonscape in our online shop) allows the look to remain simple without being boring. A true everyday ring. 

Textured Copper Dot Earrings

The copper dot earrings are cute in every texture, but my personal favorite is the hammered. Noticing a pattern here? I'm in love with Beth's hammered texture jewelry. Maybe it's because you can only see the detail up close. Maybe it's because that texture reflects light with a little sparkle. Either way, I want all of the hammered texture jewelry!

Silver Hammered Bangle

My final staff pick is, surprise, another hammered textured piece. Thin bangles are an item of delicate beauty. Wearing these bangles solo adds a touch of elegance to an outfit. I always make sure to pair this item with fine dining, a glass of wine, or musical theater.

Although our selection of minimal jewelry is much larger, these five are at the top of my list. Some are funky and some are elegant, but all are simply beautiful. You can find even more minimal jewelry in the basic collection of our web store, here.

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It's that time of year again!

Our Customer Appreciation Party will be held on Thursday, July 25th. Deals and prizes will start at 10am in-store and online. From 4-7pm you can join us for a local customer party to mingle with the staff and enjoy tasty catered treats from Moon Rae Cakes.

We want to send love to our national customers too! Shop online from 10am to midnight to receive the same deals that we'll have going on in store. 

We think we have the best customers in the world, and we can't wait to celebrate all of you! Your support is what keeps our dreams of creating quality, handmade jewelry alive.

Stay tuned for more details and RSVP on our Facebook event!

 

 

Pre-shop our Wonderland Collection!

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With all of the summer traveling that is happening, we wanted to write up a list of reasons to choose handmade souvenirs. Oftentimes, we travel to a new place and leave with one of the classic tchotchke - fridge magnets, keychains, shot glasses, or picture frames. And while we love all of those things, we think that there is a good reason to either purchase them from a local artist or check out other options in the city that you're visiting! 

#5: Purchasing from local artists helps to support a small business economy

Small businesses bring so much to a local economy - fair wage jobs, ethically made products, and they drive tourism. A lot of small businesses rely on tourism to keep their doors open. When you support these small companies, you are directly impacting the lives of the people who work at and own the shop.

#4: Handmade souvenirs are more likely to be ethically produced 

What materials were used in the production of this piece of art? Were they local or recycled? Is there any plastic in the product? Which suppliers do the business choose to work with? Small businesses shorten the production chain, and owners are involved in more steps of the process. This means you can be sure that you can feel good about your purchase!

#3: It's a great way to bring a piece of the place back with you

A handmade souvenir will usually be made with materials specific to the place you're traveling to. They're one of a kind items that can't be found in your hometown, or anywhere else! It gives them a sentimental value that can't be replicated and allows you to cherish that item and the memories attached to it for years to come.

#2: You're more likely to cherish a handmade souvenir

So many souvenirs wind up collecting dust in a forgotten drawer or cupboard. We believe that you should buy souvenirs that you can (and want to!) wear and use every day. Jewelry, framed art, and ceramics are all great options. Souvenirs don't necessarily need an obvious tie to the location you're visiting as long as they remind YOU of your trip and bring back those memories. 

#1: A handmade souvenir tells a story

Objects tell stories. For example, our Upper Peninsula jewelry is in the shape of the UP, and most are made with local copper. It is literally a piece of the land that you're visiting - how cool is that! Additionally, we have pieces that have gemstones and copper originating from the peninsula. A unique piece will have people asking where you got it from and you can revisit your trip each time you tell your story.

 

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Visiting Marquette this summer? Here is a list of our favorite festivals to check out while you're here!

#5: Harborfest

Harborfest was started in 2016 by Marquette West Rotary. The proceeds go to various non-profit organizations, which is awesome! The event is free and features music, food, craft beer, and family activities. Plus, there is a car and motorcycle show! In 2019 it will be held August 23-24.

#4: Art on the Rocks

Art on the Rocks is celebrating its 61st annual juried fine arts show. They're featuring over 140 artists in 2019! Exhibits include pottery, ceramics, glass, painting, photography, mixed media, jewelry, and more. We often get asked if we participate, and we don't, but we're just a short walk from the festival. This year, it will be held July 27-28.

Poster: Christopher Schmidt 

#3: Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival

The Hiawatha Festival is an awesome, family friendly event that brings traditional forms of music to the Marquette community. It will be held July 19-21 in 2019 and will feature a variety of music styles including bluegrass, old-time, Cajun, Celtic, acoustic blues and folk! 

Poster: Brian Forosisky

#2: Forestville Festival

Forestville Festival is a music and beer festival in the woods. All of the proceeds go to the Noquemanon Trail Network for upkeep costs. This year, the festival will take place on July 12-13, and will feature local bands and breweries. There is camping on site as well.

#1: Blueberry Fest

Blueberry Fest might be Marquette's most famous summer festival and for good reason! It's held downtown and features sidewalk sales, food vendors, artists, and activities for kids and families. Most restaurants offer blueberry themed menu specials, and you've got to stop by the Vierling for a Blueberry Wheat Beer with frozen berries tossed in. This year, the festival will be held on July 26.

Poster: Sabrina Stanley

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Although we come from different artistic backgrounds (mine being graphic design, and hers painting, drawing, and metalsmithing), Beth’s eye for composition and detail are incredibly inspiring to me. She’s mastered the materials she works with and knows just how to showcase them in her unique designs. Below are just a few of my favorites!


Mini Cresting Wave Ring

As soon as this ring came out in June, I knew I had to have it. The design is simple: a brightly polished wave peaking over a subtly textured background. It’s the perfect piece of jewelry to convey my love of water and Lake Superior. The tapered double band makes it super comfy to wear every day and it sits close to my finger so I don’t have to worry about it catching on anything. This is a ring I’ll be wearing for many years (and many adventures) to come.

 

Starry Greenstone Forest Wonderland

Some of my favorite Beth Millner pieces have stamped details like the stars, leaves, and flower blossoms in this stunning pendant. Did you know that Beth carves her own metal stamps from roofing nails? It may sound crazy when you can just buy metal stamps online, but it’s features like this that make Beth’s work truly unique. I also love how the copper wire squiggles across the pendant to form an abstract landscape. But the real treasure of this pendant is the Michigan Greenstone below. Its natural shape fits perfectly into the bottom of the oval, and its greenish-blue hue complements the copper beautifully.

 


Blue Enamel Dot Earrings

These copper dots get their vibrant color from enamel, a pigment that starts as a powder and melts into a glass when fired. If I could wear every color of these earrings at once, I would. How perfect are the red ones for a sultry summer evening? Or the yellow earrings with a cute floral sundress? But if you held a soldering gun to my head, I think I’d have to choose the deep cerulean blue. Whether they’re paired with a cocktail dress or blue jeans, this color will turn heads all the same.

 

Picnic Rocks Pendant

Everyone who stops in our store seems to notice and compliment this mixed-metal pendant. It’s one of our most popular designs, and it comes in two pendant sizes and a pair of earrings. So what’s the big deal? It’s all in the layers! The Picnic Rocks island sits back in the distance with tiny trees and birds floating above, but the pebbles at the bottom are up close and full of texture. Looking at this piece feels like standing on those smooth, cool stones and staring out at the endless lake under a clear sky. I’ve never seen a piece of jewelry that draws me in quite like the Picnic Rocks pendant, and I think most of our customers would agree!

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I like being upfront; I’m going to tell you a few of the qualities I believe are important within a brand.

A few weeks ago I attended an event put on by the Marquette SmartZone - Women in Entrepreneurship. During this event at Barrel + Beam, I had the opportunity to listen to a panel of #bossbabes talk about and answer questions pertaining to what it’s like to be a businesswoman in general, and specifically in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While this area has a rich and interesting history, with that comes a cling to certain stigmas. It’s really a shame that gender plays a role in what is considered a successful business at all, but it does in our current society. However, hearing Ruth Solinski of RTI Surgical and the featured panelists Marina Dupler of Barrel + Beam, Shailah Bunce of Rock River Farm, Jen Ray of Donckers and The Delft Bistro and Madeline Goodman of Madgoodies Studio, speak on topics ranging from the hardships of being a woman in a “man’s world” to triumphs throughout their businesses thus far was encouraging. The community created by this event highlighted the people in Marquette doing something right when it comes to supporting each other in business, people who are living out #communityovercompetition

Tiffany Nutt/Innovate Marquette SmartZone

The Beth Millner Jewelry brand is doing something right along these same lines. As a woman in business and entrepreneurship myself, I truly resonate with the BMJ way of doing business. Like Beth, I started my own photography brand  while attending University - and let me tell you - it was not easy. You know that saying that states, “Social life, good grades or sleep - pick 2.” It’s comical but that could not be more true. Usually there is someone offering support (a friend, a business partner or a spouse). In my case, my spouse, Tyler, is a supporting figure in business (among other ways), which is why I was able to start when I did! However, it has happened more than once where people assumed he was the lead photographer when we arrived at a shoot location solely due to the leader role associated with his gender. One of my first weddings of the year, my bride responded, “Naw, she IS the boss” to jokes from groomsmen about me being bossy. I love that at it makes me laugh! I do believe Marquette is moving out of this way of thinking and I love seeing businesses run and supported by women and men together!

Another way I connect with Beth Millner Jewelry is how they support the community around them through an eco-friendly brand and giving back. These practices I try to recreate in my own life and business.

Basically, the point of this whole blog post is: you should try to support brands and companies that support things you care about and impact society in a positive way.

Tiffany Nutt/Innovate Marquette SmartZone

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Beth Millner Jewelry by Hannah Shaneberger - 1w ago

Back in 2012, I was an 18-year-old senior in high school and lifelong jewelry addict dragging her mother to Beth Millner Jewelry’s grand opening. I don’t recall why or how we ended up outside the shop, but when I see the word “jewelry,” I am a moth fluttering to the bright light.

When I opened the door and peered inside the display cases, it became love at first sight. I hemmed and hawed over whether I should invest all the money I had earned working at Quiznos, but my mom was the voice of reason hanging over my shoulder reminding me that next fall I would be off to college—a.k.a. broke. I walked out empty handed, but wouldn’t stop rambling about the day I’d be back to make a purchase.

Fast forward to today, and not only have I purchased pieces from Beth over the years, but I’m now lucky enough to work here in the shop! I wonder what 18-year-old Hannah would think…

Picking a few of my favorite pieces is a daunting task—I’d gladly take the whole shop home with me—though, there are a few that reign supreme and rise above the rest. So, let’s get into them!

 

Celestial Lovers Reversible Pendant

When Valentine’s Day rolled around this year and when I saw the Celestial Lovers pieces, I nearly fell backwards off my chair. I’ve always been someone who is very drawn to the moon, and seeing the gorgeous night-scape on this pendant had me sold. I NEEDED it. In February, the finance gods were not on my side, but I still went into the shop to purchase the Little Long Celestial Lovers Reversible Pendant—I needed something from this Valentine’s launch. Months later, and my first purchase as an employee here at Beth Millner Jewelry was this pendant. The pull this pendant had on me was too hard to resist, and I gifted myself an early 25th birthday present. Now this moonchild can wear the night sky all cancer season long.

 

Lake Superior Silver Ring

Although we no longer carry this particular ring, it is one I hold close to my heart, so I had to add it to my list. I adore Lake Superior, and everyone in my life knows my obsession with this body of water. So when I graduated from Michigan State, my parents wanted to make sure I took Superior with me no matter where I may wonder. Little did they know, I’d make my way right back to Mother Superior’s coasts following commencement.

 

 New Beginnings Pendant

Aside from loving the fact that the name of this pendant, it is one that brings me back to childhood. Something about this pendant reminds me of the times I spent as a kid at my grandparent’s camp in Vermont. I would sleep on the futon out on the screen porch and wake up to the sound of waves, and the view of the sun rising over Lake Champlain. This pendant is true nostalgia for me.

Mini Superior Gales Earrings

If you ever spot me around town, nine times out of ten, I will be wearing these earrings. I may have made this evident by now, but I am drawn to water so naturally my everyday earrings are going to have a tie to it. These babies are subtle, yet elegant. They go with everything! Dress them up or down—I have worn them to weddings and days on the beach. And, the shape of them complement every face shape. Basically, I believe they are the perfect earrings, and they are a true everyday staple for me.

 

Michigan Greenstone Ring

My jewelry collection is made up of 80% rings with stones. I am a stone girl through and through. My favorite gem of the moment is the Greenstone! This gemstone is a BILLION years old—what!? I think the history of the Greenstone is incredibly fascinating, and a real conversation starter when you wear it. Rocking one of these is wearing a piece of our planet’s life story—and one that not many people are even familiar with. Knowing the Greenstone’s origin makes it that much more stunning in my eyes.

 

So there you have it, folks, my top five Beth Millner Jewelry pieces—at least for now!

 

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I’ve wanted to be an author for about as long as I can remember. When I was in kindergarten I read my first book out loud – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, so my parents knew for sure I hadn’t just memorized it – and I loved writing little stories every month in elementary school. In fifth grade we had to read them out loud to each other and I remember one of my friends saying that she liked mine best because they sounded like “a real writer” wrote them. That was the best compliment ever, since I really, really wanted to be “a real writer.”
 

I’d meant it as a fiction writer, the next Gail Carson Levine or Philip Pullman or J. K. Rowling, but that’s not how it happened. (Although the fact that it did indeed actually happen still doesn’t quite seem real!) In August 2016 I got an email out of the blue from someone named Susan, who told me she was an editor at McFarland and Company. She’d come across my dissertation online and was wondering if I had a project that she could help me with.

 So … that’s not how it usually happens. Generally you get your PhD and then aim for writing a book maybe five years later. Maybe more. And then there’s the time spent looking for a publisher and getting someone to accept it. I had an idea, sure, but in my head it was the book I’d be writing in four years or so, not an idea I’d be summarizing and sending off before the day was out. Or a book contract to be signed within a few months, or a manuscript to be delivered within a year. The speed at which The Ripper’s Victims in Print went from initial email to published book was astounding.


 

The actual process of preparing a book-length manuscript for publication is exhausting. There’s a reason some people work as professional indexers, for example – some of us just aren’t cut out for it. The final step before you actually get your printed book in your hands is sending back corrections to the proofs and the dreaded index, which I returned to Susan in early January 2018. I’d spend the Christmas holiday with highlighters and pens, trying to pull it all together and meet the deadline.


 The first time I actually went to Beth Millner Jewelry in Marquette, as opposed to window-shopping the website, was after I’d sent everything off. I wanted to mark the occasion: my first book. Me, a real writer. That needed something meaningful. I wanted to go in and get something, specifically the Summer Twig Ring. I was a woman on a mission.

 I chose the Summer Twig Ring intentionally. The book didn’t happen overnight, as quick and miraculous as the whole process seems. I’d been working toward it, researching for it, and thinking about it in the back of my mind – building toward it without actually making any visible progress, the way a tree in winter prepares for leaves while looking like empty branches. All of the energy is there, being gathered and stored and put to good use, but the result isn’t seen until the proper time, when the seasons change.


In my mind it’s sort of a warmer version of the iceberg, where all other people see is the tip – the final product – and not everything that went on underneath: the researching, the outlining, the dried-out highlighters, the drafts that get torn apart and put back together again, all before anyone else ever sets eyes on what I’ve written. The years in school that mean I could do this in the first place or all the back-and-forth between me and my committee members before my dissertation was approved. All that work going on underneath the surface but, even though it’s not seen, it counts. It’s still happening.

And the twig, unlike an iceberg, also has another message: that it’s okay to rest. Winter isn’t a time of being lazy or of unnecessary sloth. The twig needs time to just be a twig again before it produces leaves again, and spring – like the next idea – always comes, even if the winter seems long.
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Beth Millner Jewelry by Hannah Shaneberger - 2w ago

Many of you may be surprised to know that in the past 9 years, I have lived in over 10 different cities, 6 different states, and more houses/apartments/tents than I can count. To say it lightly, I have a vagabond spirit. I like adventure. I like to travel. I LOVE meeting new people. And because of this wanderlust, seasonal life had a huge appeal to me. And for a long time, it was wonderful. I wasn't afraid to move across the country, I was able to work jobs I had never dreamed I would get to do. I have lived in states that I only saw in nature documentaries as a child. I have experienced things that so few people will ever be able to, and I have met SO many people!


I would love to tell you that my seasonal adventures were as glamorous as all of my social media posts described. But with ups, come downs. I fell into a pattern. I would get bored of one place or job. So I would start to plan my next adventure. Each time moving somewhere new and exciting, only to repeat the same process. The thing was, I wasn't actually dealing with why I wanted to escape each place. I was lonely. I convinced myself that I didn't belong there anymore, and it turns out that the high of a new seasonal job is a pretty great band-aid for loneliness… to a point.

Part of this cycle was constantly ending up back in Michigan for the spring and fall—“off seasons" if you will. There will always be something about being engulfed in the forest that calms my soul. The shores of the Great Lakes awaken a nostalgia of my childhood. My family went to the beaches of Lake Michigan every chance we would get. My mom could barely keep me out of the water. I remember hearing stories of how my grandparents met when my grandfather worked on the car ferries of Lake Michigan. In college, every celebration, heartbreak, new beginning, and long time reunion was washed in the waves of Lake Superior.  The Great Lakes were my home. And so with each transition of my life, I had to go back, to wash myself in their waters, and remind myself that wherever life took me, this was a place I would always be welcome.

I continued to move, not realizing until recently that I wasn't moving because I wanted to find adventure. Instead, I was in a constant search for a new home. So far, the closest place I have found peace like I feel in the Great Lakes region, is the wilderness surrounding the Tetons. After moving back and forth from Jackson Hole three times, I have decided to start my greatest adventure so far: putting down roots. I now have property, and am building a cabin, and have started my own business. I think through this journey, I realized that no place was going to feel completely right until I committed to it, embracing the worst and best parts. I can confidently call Wyoming another one of my “homes.” But from time to time, I still get homesick for Michigan, and it's crystal clear waters. That is why I was ecstatic when I received  the Picnic Rocks Pendant from Beth Millner Jewelry. I haven't taken it off since I got it. It reminds me so much of home, and gives me an overwhelming sense of peace, even when life gets tough. It reminds me that no matter where I am, “home" is always within me.

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A New Line Featuring Local Stones!

Beth spent this past winter learning to cut, shape, and polish agates in our studio, and teaching her assistant, Nina, how to do so as well. Once the weather started warming up, she was able to hit the beaches of Marquette to collect stones herself, and some of these have made their way into our newest line of Lake Superior Agate pendants, cuffs, and rings! We're so excited to be able to share this with you and to be able to offer a small piece of the Queen City of the North to take home with you!

Wait, aren't all your Lake Superior Agates Local?

Great Question! All of our Lake Superior Agates are sourced regionally. We work with one vendor for our gemstones - a couple who live up in the Keweenaw Peninsula. For the most part, our stones are going to come from that part of the Upper Peninsula, however, they do source some stones from the greater Lake Superior region. All of the Lake Superior Agates were formed over a billion years ago in the basin that Lake Superior sits in today.

Why did Beth decide to start cutting her own stones?

The short answer is that agate hunting, cutting, and polishing is fun! The longer answer is that Beth was able to significantly grow the Beth Millner Jewelry staff in the past year. This has enabled her to spend more time in the studio creating new pieces and experimenting with new techniques. Plus, she's been able to pass on more responsibility to Nina, who has been a rockstar in the studio lately.

Can you make jewelry with an agate that I found?

Unfortunately, Beth can only work with agates that she finds. We would hate to break a stone that you found, especially because those are often tied to sentimental memories! We suggest putting those beautiful treasures on display at home, and choosing a piece from the shop. 

 What about a custom Marquette Lake Superior Agate Ring?

Our custom window is closing on June 30, and will reopen in 2020. 

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