Maine jewelry designer Pamela DeSantis pairs minimalism with the exotic to create one-of-a-kind jewelry.
Jewelry designer Pamela DeSantis can be found beach combing for precious stones throughout the year on Maine’s coast. “From a beach stone to a Herkimer Diamond, I can find beauty in them all,” she says. “I love their energy, and the folklore and mysticism around stones, the powers attributed to them by people and healers throughout the ages.”
Born in Connecticut, DeSantis and her family spent part of their summer vacations along the Maine shore, and in the early ’90s, they decided to make the move here full-time. She followed after studying journalism at Southern Connecticut State University honor’s college. It was at college that she discovered stone sculpture. “I come from a long line of artists so I naturally gravitated toward creative work and design,” says DeSantis, who lives in Kennebunkport in a little 1790s cape with her three kids.
The dramatic changes in Maine’s climate infuse DeSantis’ work, and she says the cycles of the moon, the tides, and the changing seasons soothe her soul and spark her creativity. “Even the long winters, I have to admit, can be hard, but I have learned to find beauty and inspiration in the barren and lifeless as well as in the cycle of life and death,” she says. “Long, slow moving winters are a great time to hunker down in a cozy warm space and create, create, create. And then the quick lusty summers provide just the right vibrant energy to get out and hustle and mingle and sell my work.”
DeSantis has a strong passion for using stones in her designs. She finds them on the beach, in the woods, and even has some experience mining for them in Maine. She uses material from her home state, as well as other places, and chooses stones with the qualities attributed to their energies in mind.
Somtimes, DeSantis sends clients to Sue Gordon at Zen & Company in Lower Village Kennebunk, so they can pick a stone that will feed the kind of energy that suits them. From that, she makes a unique piece that serves a purpose and feeds their energy. “It’s a loving, magical process all around,” she says. “And people really seem to love having a wearable, meaningful work of healing art designed just for them. Something sacred and personal.”
In addition to drawing inspiration from nature and the stones she uses, DeSantis is also inspired by architecture from different cultures around the world. “I draw on all of this in my work, and I strive to create pieces that have a story to tell that pay homage to their wearer. I think of my design style as being ‘Primitive Royal.'”
DeSantis doesn’t mind a nick or a tool mark in her pieces. Instead, she prefers a natural looking piece that isn’t polished and has a setting that tells a story. “I love creating natural environments for a stone to live, that honor the energy of the stone and the wearer,” she says.
Pamela DeSantis–jewelry designer
Honey Tribe Jewelry
Photos by Libby Connelly and Danielle Dutile.