After creating a new necklace or bracelet, jewelry designer Tess Backhus will “tess drive” it, wearing the piece and evaluating its comfort, function and how others react to it. Often she will tweak the length of a necklace or bracelet so it will hang just right on its new owner.
Today through Friday, Backhus, a longtime local, will be at Asian Village in The Riverwalk at Edwards showcasing her latest designs.
“Tess is all about personal service,” said UnChu Ring, the co-owner of Asian Village. “If something doesn’t work just perfectly after someone has made a purchase, Tess will work with that person until it is as comfortable as a second skin. Sometimes, even months after the initial purchase, a customer will have a comment and Tess will meet with her and adjust a clasp or bead to get it just right.”
“Our customers love working with her and buying her jewelry, knowing that the handmade piece they choose are truly custom-fitted,” said Susan Bristol, who co-owns the store with Ring.
According to Ring, Backhus is the most popular artist at the store.
“She started quietly when she and her husband, Tom, owned 4 Eagle Guest Ranch in Wolcott,” Ring said. “Now she devotes all her time to jewelry design and construction — and it shows. Her meticulous detailing and imaginative use of semi-precious stones and other natural materials make for necklaces, bracelets and earrings that never go out of style.”
According to Backhus, her mantra is: “Life is passion … adorn with beauty and character.” And she’s very serious about her craft.
“I prepare for each creative work session with reflections, prayer, meditation, musical inspiration and the intent to transform Earth’s gifts to enhance the spirit and lives of those who wear them,” Backhus said.
She personally chooses each stone and strand of beads, she said, looking for “distinctive qualities and exceptional quality.” She considers the components of her pieces to be “gifts” from nature.
Backhus pays close attention to the fashion world, looking for trends that are timeless, rather than passing fads.
“One of the most impressive things about Tess Backhus is her concept of small strong collections,” Bristol said. “Balanced between smaller minimalist pieces and large blasts of color and form, Tess’ designs stand up to those of any jewelry designer in the country. We are delighted and honored to be her primary showcase, and we are very fortunate to have her as part of the local community.”