Courtesy of Turya Nations
By Jessica Walsh
Claire Bruce spent her summers traveling the South with her parents, and she remembers how Southern women would put on makeup, their best jewelry, and fur coats to go grocery shopping.
“There was always this little bit of sparkle, this little bit of opulence,” she says.
Now, the native Mississippian designs jewelry in Missouri for the type of woman she calls the “modern Southern belle.” For almost two years, she’s run a jewelry boutique called Sloan + Themis on the banks of the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau. She creates most of the pieces that line the tiny shop with vaulted ceilings.
Her designs often feature freshwater pearls, crystals, or beads with sterling clasps. Nearly every piece includes a vintage element, often in the form of a pendant; a jade-colored glass charm carved in Japan in the 1950s dangles from a bracelet strung with cream-colored freshwater pearls. Another necklace made up of glittering, inky onyx and crystal beads showcases a vintage broach from 1950s West Germany. Brokers on the coasts help Claire find beads and baubles forgotten for decades in the attics and warehouses of far-flung places. Claire also designs many custom pieces.
At first, jewelry making was a hobby for Claire, who crunched numbers at a marketing research job. She moved to Cape Girardeau to take graduate classes and fell in love with the town. She decided to stay and design jewelry for the modern version of those Southern beauties in her memories.
For more information, visit sloanandthemis.com.