Pride & Archive Jewelry Design by Summer Merritt

Pride & Archive Jewelry Design by Summer Merritt

About The Artist

Summer Merritt • Weaverville, NC

I create modern jewelry pieces from exotic hardwoods, blurring the line between art and fashion. Unlike traditional jewelers, I use wood as the foundation of my work. Each piece is meticulously shaped and carefully crafted by hand to achieve a smooth, high-polished finish. I intuitively respond to the wood grain and consider every angle to add depth and dimension to the work. The natural oils from the wearer's skin condition the wood over time, creating a symbiotic relationship between the jewelry and the wearer. I also handcraft my own clasps and metal details using precious metals to complement the quality of the wood. My ultimate goal is to challenge the perception of wood jewelry as a DIY accessory and showcase its potential as a high-end, artisanal form of wearable art.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

I create jewelry using sustainably sourced hardwoods, shaping each piece by hand with sanders and hand tools. After shaping, I meticulously polish the wood from 120 to 7000 grit, achieving a silky finish often mistaken for stone. The dense hardwoods offer a high luster and unique grain patterns. No stains or dyes are used, showcasing the natural colors and textures. The wood is finished with a natural conditioning oil, bringing out additional grain details. I then design and handcraft precious metal details using silver, gold fill, and vermeil, integrating them into the wood with a secure technique. Custom clasps are added to complete the chains.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

My passion lies in working with exotic hardwoods, as I find immense joy in exploring their unique qualities. The very nature of working with wood ensures that each piece I create is distinct, inspiring new ideas and designs with every project. As I shape and sculpt the wood, I am constantly reminded of the preciousness it holds, endeavoring to make the wearer aware that wood is as valuable as stones or metals. I believe in celebrating the inherent beauty and richness of wood, honoring its natural characteristics and infusing them into wearable art. This process not only captivates me but also allows me to create pieces that resonate with others, showcasing the exquisite allure and timeless elegance of this cherished material.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

My fine jewelry practice is unique because I exclusively work with natural woods, without stains or dyes, yet offer a stunning array of colors. People often mistake the wood for stone due to the vibrant hues and intricate patterns, as well as the polished texture that feels like stone. The jewelry is surprisingly lightweight and comfortable to wear, allowing for a striking look without heaviness. Additionally, I incorporate thoughtful details on the back of many pieces, providing a space for the wearer to use them as worry stones. Overall, my jewelry combines the organic beauty of wood with a diverse color palette, captivating and surprising those who encounter it.