05 July 2014

Gardens Of The Sun

They say diamond is a girl's best friend. I know I am no girly girl, but that doesn't mean accessories like diamonds and crystal don't tickle my fancy taste. It is honoured to have the most humble Meri of Gardens Of The Sun here to share experiences of managing her own business!

A short introduction of yourself

Hi there! Pleasure to meet you. I am Meri, owner of Gardens of the Sun. I design raw diamond and rough gemstone jewelry for the free spirited woman.

The name Gardens of the Sun comes from an old journal about Borneo island written by an explorer from the 19th century. I love exploring and discovering, and Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, is a world of inspiration for me. Originally from the Netherlands, I now live in Bogor, Indonesia, a place famous for its botanical gardens. It is often called City of Rain, because of the many tropical thunderstorms.

I am a mother, traveler, environmentalist, mediator, cheese and yoghurt maker and always in for good food. I love sports and used to be an avid rock climber.

How did you get started in this business and why Garden of the Sun?

I started making jewelry when I was in university, studying tropical forestry. I was in Indonesia for fieldwork, and while traveling I purchased some amazing gemstones in South Kalimantan, and freshwater pearls on the island of Lombok. I didn’t have all the right tools or materials, nor did I know of the right place to sell it. So I just made it for myself and for friends and family. When I was preparing my wedding I stumbled upon Etsy, and the idea to pick up jewelry making again was planted in my mind.

Where do you get your inspirations from?

Originally I was only working with silver. I am now also creating gold jewelry. In my jewelry creation, I drift toward unusual pieces and organic shapes. I love rare gemstones and spend most of my time treasure hunting for the most special stones. I found my niche working with raw diamonds and rough gems, adoring and accentuating their imperfections. My focus is on elegant, organic designs with rough candy rocks that are ethically and sustainably sourced whenever possible. Early 2014 I even went to Sri Lanka to get some very special sapphires almost straight from the earth.

This summer I will be expanding my line of diamond slice jewelry. I love the innovative designs I get to make with these, resulting in a raw and non-traditional yet elegant look. The organic beauty of the stones, their amorphous shapes, the intriguing internal patterns and the myriad colors make that no two slices are alike. This also means that mass production is not possible (yoo-hoo!).

I find this quote very inspiring. It urges me to find the limits of traditional jewelry design.

"Her life improved dramatically when she decided to break the rules and find beauty where she had been told there was none."
- Ashlin Nawel Habes

Share some of the highest and lowest points encountered in this journey.

My absolute high is that some of my jewelry pieces will be for sale in the brick and mortar shop The Shangri-La boutique in California. I also vividly remember being featured on the Etsy frontpage. The first time I just had a girls night out with friends and we were staying the night in an outrageously high end hotel, all sleeping together in a massive bed. I woke up way too early in the morning (also called "being a mom's habit") and jumped up and down on the bed out of excitement. My friends had a rather bad hangover and were not too pleased with this, so I went out of the room into the hall in my PJ's to do a little dance. I ended up locking myself out and standing in my PJ's, blind without glasses, knocking on the door of our room for maybe half an hour.

My lowest point... Realising that having a shop on Etsy is actually almost a full-time job and hard to combine with having a day job and a family, and wanting to do sports and meeting friends too. It can be stressful and I am still working on improving my time management.

Any advice for someone out there who is on the verge of venturing into entrepreneurship?

Find your niche. I started off with beaded bracelets and necklaces. These were gorgeous, but Etsy was flooded with more of these gorgeous goodies from other Etsy sellers. It took me a while, but I have found my niche and people now find me.

Meri is giving readers of nomElizabeth a special treat! You will be able to grab the gorgeous blue raw diamond post earrings at a cheaper rate by clicking here! Hurry before it's gone!

If you like to be featured like this, do check out on what I have to offer! ;)


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