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From NIH Scientist To Jewelry Store Owner June 02, 2021 (0 comments)


Portsmouth, NH—Jeweler Marianne Janik, owner of the new Calli B. jewelry store, started her professional life in a very different field: a scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Her job was to save endangered species from extinction, and, as this article in SeacoastOnline describes, a big part of that job was to study how animals can adapt to survive. Image: Janik on opening day in front of her new shop.

It would prove a valuable lesson for her own life, as she twice reinvented herself: first from scientist to jeweler, and then from traveling craft-show jeweler to jewelry-store owner.

As the article recounts, a reduction in funding to the NIH in 2001 forced Janik’s first reckoning. Leaving the NIH for a job in pharmaceutical sales, she naturally dressed in a suit every day, always accessorizing with jewelry—but realizing that she had a hard time finding jewelry she liked. She began learning to make her own jewelry, and soon had friends and co-workers asking her to make pieces for them. That led to house parties, and ultimately to packing up her SUV and selling on a circuit of craft shows—about 50 weekends a year—with her mother to help.

Every piece of jewelry is custom designed and meticulously handcrafted of genuine gemstones, pearls, minerals, blown glass, and precious metals. Most of Janik’s pieces are one of a kind, but she says she can create similar designs if a customer finds something that’s already been sold. 

“When choosing gemstones, I pay particular attention to fabulous and interesting shapes, cuts, colors, sizes and textures. I get excited when I find completely unusual stones that you rarely see,” she says. In addition to fabulous gemstones, she also is heavily inspired by the coastal environment where she lives and there is a strong sea influence in all her work.

A pearl and chalcedony necklace.

In early 2020, as the news of a mysterious new virus in Wuhan, China, grew, Janik the scientist knew in her senses that this was going to impact Janik the jeweler. From the article:

“I pretty much called my friends in February and said: 'Guys, there aren't going to be any shows.' So I was mentally and physically prepared to manage myself through the following I had.”

Even as the prevalence of vaccines began to turn the pandemic tide to more in-person gatherings, the art and craft show season still looked thin to Janik. Some of her favorite festivals - such as the Yarmouth, Maine, Clam Festival - still weren’t going to happen in 2021. The idea of a brick and mortar store was borne of necessity.

“To me, it was a scary leap,” she said. “But I have always been dreaming about it - if I ever had a store, this is basically it.”

Her 500-square foot gallery opened in downtown Portsmouth on May 22 and sells her handmade precious metal and gemstone jewelry.

The interior of Calli B.'s new shop.

Read the full article here.

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