Love, Loss, and Links of Silver and Bronze
By Sarah Villafranco, MD
Posted in Blog, on October 20, 2014
My Side of the Story
Not long after my mother died, I was on the phone with an old friend, who said, softly: “I think Stacey’s mom died way too early, too – you should reach out to her.”
“Stacey who?” I asked.
“Stacey Lorinczi, from DC,” she responded. Now there was a name I had not heard in ages, I thought, as the memories flooded in…
Stacey and I met in 6th grade. We had very few things in common. She was punky, I was sporty. She was short, I was tall. She was intellectual, I was only closet-smart. But neither of us ever declared an allegiance to any of the female cliques in our hormone-infused 6th grade class, which left us floating somewhere in the middle, free to discover each other. We spent many afternoons in each others' houses, shared a passion for exercise even at that age, and together muscled awkwardly through the transition from thinking boys were supremely gross to finding them mildly intriguing. I remember her first heartbreak, and I'm sure she remembers mine. I also remember being really fascinated by her mother, who was strikingly attractive, had a thick white stripe in her jet-black hair, and smoked cigarettes in a way that somehow didn’t seem yucky.
Through high school, Stacey and I weren’t as close, but there was always mutual kindness and respect. She was a prolific artist, even then, usually clad in combat boots, leather, and very dark lipstick, with her hair up in a perfectly tousled chignon and a wispy cashmere scarf strewn about her shoulders. The perfect blend of goth and grace.
When I googled her, after a 16-year hiatus, I discovered that she was a jewelry designer in San Francisco, and that her work was JUST like her – a surprising mix of punk and elegance. We started corresponding via email 7 years ago, and she is one of my closest friends today. (She has two spirited daughters and a handsome, bald, kind, and brilliant husband, just like I do – how could we not be best friends??)
I have bought lots of amazing pieces from Stacey, and so have most of my friends and family. I cherish wearing jewelry made by the hands of someone I know and love. One day, I had the idea that I would like my staff to have something special, too. The OO Necklace took shape in my imagination as a piece that would have mixed metals, be perfect with almost every outfit, and make a pleasant little jangly sound once in a while. I wanted two circles, linked but still free to move separately. The concept was appealing to me and Stacey, both aesthetically, and in what it represented: I wanted to show these women who had become part of my passion and dream to know that I treasure their connection to me and the company, and that I love who they are as individuals, too. (Deep jewelry philosophy, here, people.) Somewhere along the line, someone said “I love the two Os for Osmia Organics,” and so I smiled, nodded, and acted like that was my concept from the start. Of course, for me, the necklace also represents the rekindling of my relationship with Stacey after so many years, the two mothers we lost along the way, and the two daughters we are each raising now.
So many people comment on these pieces that we have decided to make them available on our site. We have only a few to start, to test the waters. We hope people will buy them for the women they love - mothers, daughters, friends, sisters, partners - knowing that the linked circles can represent something unique to each person who wears them, and that each piece was made rich with this long history of friendship and love.
"Sarah and I have known each other since girlhood, when we were navigating the treacherous waters of middle school, and later high school. Even back then, she had a fascination with luxury beauty and health products—a love we both shared, in addition to an adherence to Jane Fonda fitness routines. I am profoundly grateful that the Internet didn’t yet exist, or else there might have been actual proof of this.
Despite attending the same small high school, we didn’t see much of each other as teenagers, and after graduation we fell out of touch. It was only about 7 or so years ago that Sarah rekindled our friendship, partly out of curiosity, partly because she had recently lost her mother to cancer, and knew that I had, too, and thought we might once again navigate the treacherous waters of grief together. However, the serious discussions soon enough devolved into hilarity, as we realized that after all these years apart we shared so many similar enthusiasms and amusements.
I watched Sarah evolve in her passions, from emergency room doctor to her calling as Osmia founder, and was honored when she approached me to collaborate on a special necklace to celebrate her company and the women who helped her make it a success. What began as a gift of appreciation for her employees soon took on greater import, as her customers began to take interest in the necklace, too.
The hammered solid sterling silver and bronze have a warm rusticism that comes from the human hands that lovingly crafted each necklace, one piece at a time, in San Francisco. While the interlocking “O’s” do represent Osmia Organics, I believe the abstract shape welcomes a multiplicity of interpretations. From the women whose hard work first inspired it, the women who conceived its design and then fabricated it by hand, to the women who proudly wear it, let it inspire and empower you with your own meaning. Most importantly: wear it in great health and happiness."
We hope, if you buy an OO Necklace, that you will one day share the story of what it means to you - we'd love to hear it. (But, if you just really like the necklace, you can buy it without having to submit an essay - it's a pretty cool piece, even without the storytelling.)
Much love, as always, from us to you,
Sarah, Stacey, and the Osmia Crew.