Elevate Difference

Zosterops Jewelry Shop

Zosterops' Jessie Cheng is a doll. Not an empty-headed plaything, like Barbie or Bratz, but the kind crooner Frank Sinatra used as a term of endearment. Jessie is the kind of gal who's so lovely and sincere that you immediately want do nice things for her. Lucky for me, Jessie's long-honed raw talent make that compulsion all too easy for this so-called objective reviewess to carry out.

The beauty of Zosterops is that it's a shop that caters to a broad range of aesthetic sensibilities—so much so, in fact, that Jessie's mantra is "creation to meet anyone's content." From sunflower earrings to a heart-shaped locket and cut-out bird designs to crystal hearts, there really is something here for everyone, and Jessie is constantly adding more to the mix. She handcrafts the jewelry from items she picks up at places her journeys take her, which gives each piece a matchless quality.

The five-piece sampling Jessie sent me from Hong Kong is diversely sublime, and my two favorites are the Little Red Penguin Earrings and Turquoise Necklace. Although the latter is no longer available, the former is a pair of sterling silver hook earwires holding tiny red and silver bird charms that are absolutely adorable for children and adults alike. And speaking of adorable birds, the Gold Buddy Birdie Necklace is that as well. The gold-plated, nickle-free charm and chain add a smidgen of childhood hipster glamor to a plain tee and jeans day. Although you may get folks asking if you're simply really into Twitter now that the rapidly growing company's logo has co-opted our feathered friends. (Too bad for a company who is named after a winged species.)

The picture of the Crystal Heart Earrings doesn't do their blinding bling justice. The Swarovski crystal that comprises the heart-shaped beads is made to catch the light and reflect it in all directions, causing an über-shimmer effect I happen to be partial to. The beads hang from a sterling silver hook earwire, which makes the earrings dangly and nearly weightless.

The last item I received is the Cream White Pearl Heart Locket Love Necklace. The mouthful of name leaves something to be desired, but the piece itself is quite simple and sweet. As soon as I saw it, I knew my sister would love it. Her nine-month-old son might have given her the greatest gift ever (he said his first word—"mommy"—on Christmas Day) for 2009, but I've now got her 2010 birthday present in the bag. Pop a picture of the little one in there, and I'm golden—which is somewhat paradoxical since it's a silver locket, no?

Born in the late 1960s, Jessie started making jewelry after quitting her job and the most exciting part of her day is getting an email notification of a sale. The gist of her Zosterops' story is this: kind artisan + beautiful, well-constructed jewelry = tru luv 4eva (4now). You don't have to be a white-eyed bird to see that.

Written by: Mandy Van Deven, February 1st 2010