It was never the designers’ intention to pursue jewelry making as a career. “I was making jewelry for fellow students and teachers in the 5th grade,” explains the Arizona native. “My parents were really into rock hunting, gemstones and Native American jewelry. I went along on trips to Navajo and Zuni reservations every weekend. It’s been in my blood from an early age. I thought making jewelry was something you did for fun. I didn’t know fun could be a career path.”
After a career spanning over 10 years in communications, Pam opened her own retail stores in Manhattan Beach, CA and Scottsdale, AZ. It was during this time that the seed was planted for a way to pursue jewelry design and fabrication as a new creative path. Sales of her designs in her own stores were exceeding expectations. This led to the idea of wholesale sales to other similar boutiques and online retailers. Once sales with other retailers proved profitable the idea was born to pursue jewelry making as a real endeavor.
“Handmade was always the dream. I started out as many jewelry people do making strung pieces while I pursued an education in jewelry design, metal fabrication, casting, stone setting and finish work. It’s been 5 years of classes and apprenticeship. No small feat since I got started later in life. Sitting at a microscope all day setting tiny diamonds can take a toll.”
A colorful modern aesthetic made from responsibly sourced materials make up the ever-evolving Lost Bird Designs line. Not wanting to use her own name as the brand, Pam used the name her husband gave her while she was struggling on her new path. “He said I wondered around the house like a little lost bird. Ouch! I guess he was right. I was a little lost and the name just kind of stuck.”
The brand is just getting started and looking at the modern 14K gold pieces studded with turquoise and diamonds it becomes clear that a childhood spent close to Native American culture is a key part of the designers drive. Arizona turquoise spills out onto the stone setting bench in the Lost Bird Designs studio. Every finished piece reflects a history of the culture near and dear to the designer’s heart.