Chic Style: Tara Lea Smith Jewelry

Chic Style: Tara Lea Smith Jewelry

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Tara Lea Smith started making her unique jewelry back in 2005. 

Tara Lea Smith, of Tara Lea Smith Jewelry, has two things to credit to the start of her jewelry business: her grandmother and back surgery. She started making jewelry in December of 2005, after having some downtime to recover from back surgery. She would play around with materials she bought at local craft stores.


Smith also recognizes her grandmother as a source of inspiration. Her grandmother had taken classes on jewelry making, so Smith learned many of her skills from her, in addition to watching online tutorials. The two even attended bead shows together as they began to create more unique pieces.



In September of 2010, Smith opened up her online Etsy shop. She was unable to find a job teaching art, so her husband encouraged her to take her jewelry making skills to the next level by opening up an online shop for people to purchase her pieces.


Over the years, the style of Smith’s jewelry has evolved. “The earlier pieces were made of sterling silver and high end gemstones,” Smith says. “It was nothing eclectic, like it is now.”


When her Etsy shop opened, Smith was creating more simple pieces. She also grew interested in vintage jewelry and beads, and started going to flea markets to find one-of-a-kind materials.


“My designs evolved to include Swarovski, bead caps, and brooches,” she says. “I would break up those pieces and create massive collage statement pieces.”


Smith says she has always gravitated toward anything with Swarovski crystals, and that she loves things that are bold and over the top.


“Every woman is unique, and they deserve to have a unique piece of jewelry that nobody else has,” she says.


When making her jewelry, Smith tries experimenting with different techniques. She says she is always trying to learn something new through every piece she creates. This experimentation includes a recent endeavor of aging a flower piece by spraying vinegar on it.

Smith uses different techniques for each piece of jewelry.

In addition to creating her unique statement pieces, Smith also allows customers to give her their old jewelry so she can recreate it into something new. Smith’s jewelry has become quite popular, as it was recently featured at New York Fashion Week. She worked with Lubna Najjar of Lubna Designs to create the jewelry for the designer’s show. Smith has worked with local boutiques like Amy Kirchen and Pretty Penguin Studios, and her pieces are currently being sold at Curate Boutique.


Smith will have her jewelry available October 13 at Second Sunday on Main, the street festival in Over-the-Rhine. Connect with her on her website, Instagram, Tumblr.