Looking at the Splash Holiday Gift Guide, I noticed that Jjanusz Custom Jewelry Design is located in the greater Chicago area, and I thought it would be interesting to see their works in person. My friend, Kay, loves jewelry and was enthusiastic about coming along.
Coincidently, Kay and I happened to be wearing amber pieces and when we arrived and began speaking with Jjianusz, we learned that his venture into making jewelry began with beautiful and elaborate amber creations in Poland. They are now part of the amber collection in Malbork Castle, which has over 2,000 cataloged pieces in an eclectic collection that includes ancient pieces made by man's early workings and contemporary work of amber artisans today including a large case filled with the works of Jjanusz.
As we learned about amber, we were increasingly fascinated. It is not of mineral origin, but it is one of the few precious substances on earth we consider a gem. Diamonds, jet (both derived from various stages of coal) and amber are the only gems of vegetative origin. Amber is fossil tree resin and it is appreciated for its color and beauty. Baltic amber, which contains the highest level of succinic acid, is the most highly valued form of amber.
Most of the world's amber is in the range of 30–90 million years old. Once soft and sticky tree resin, amber can sometimes contain insects and even small vertebrates. It occurs in a range of various colors including the usual yellow-orange that is associated with the color "amber", but can range from a whitish color through a pale lemon yellow, to brown and almost black. Other more uncommon colors include red amber (sometimes known as "cherry amber"), green amber, and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after. Heat changes the color. One of the most unusual pieces at Jjanusz was carved amber in light yellow.
The Romans valued amber over gold and believed it to be a “magic stone” as it produced static electricity. Amber was first used for medicinal purposes. It was ground to a powder and then mixed with wine. It was believed that when consumed it provided relief from croup, asthma, fever, and tonsillitis. After consuming this mixture, a chunk of amber or the powder kept in a small vial was then worn around the neck, and that is how it first started being worn as jewelry. Amber was also used in treating painful ear conditions. In powder form, again, amber was mixed with honey this time, and rose oil, and then packed into the infected ear – thus amber earrings!
Janusz Goralski is the designer who works with gems of all kinds. We observed molds for jewelry in the making. All diamonds are certified. Original works can come from materials selected in the showroom or from existing pieces one owns that need a new look.
You can shop anywhere and will pay double for a similar item. Dealing directly with Jjanusz a unique, original and beautiful item can by yours for half the cost. In addition, with Jjanusz you have the benefit of someone who can advise you about what styles, sizes, colors and so on are the most flattering to the person wearing the jewelry.
Jjanusz Custom Jewelry Design supports local charities, often donating a certificate with a value of $250 toward labor costs in making a custom piece of jewelry. This amount of money covers a good deal of our normal labor charge making our normal value increase. There is also a mother and child pendant that is a popular raffle item, which helps to raise money for various charities.
At Jjanusz you have a wonderful opportunity to create an original piece of jewelry for the holidays, for an engagement/wedding ring or a unique piece for a special birthday, anniversary or something to just lift you spirits.
Update: This year (2011) Jjanusz Custom Jewelry Design has received many requests for animal themed jewelry. Last year three different versions of octopi were created. The first two mainly relied on silver, amber, a fe diamonds and semiprecious stones. The third octopus was a real show- stopper. It weighed almost 2 ounces of 14k gold and contained over a carat and a half of very white diamond melees plus almost 5 carats of tsavorite garnet, as well as amber. It is a stunning piece.
Jjanusz Custom Jewelry Design was selected as Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo's charity ball vendor of animal themed jewelry, helping to raise money for this worthy charity. Along with this year's theme of "Hollywood and Vines" for the ball which is being held Friday, July 8, 2011, the animal selected is the Zebra. Anatomically correct Zebra head cufflinks, studs and a pendant/pin in sterling silver with sapphire eyes can be purchased. A customer from Colorado requested a pendant shaped like an anatomically correct dolphin so a new sea creature joined the collection.
By appointment only at:
Jjanusz Custom Jewelry Design
2500 W. Higgins Rd., Suite 1143