With all the hype surrounding Boardwalk Empire, many are taking the time to learn more about the rich history of Atlantic City. And as some have been researching and looking forward to watching more episodes of this season’s hottest TV show, which airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO, others have been working on providing people with a piece of history through a different medium. One such person is Galloway Township-based jewelry designer Paula Jerome of Paula Jerome Designs.
At a much simpler time in life, Jerome spent her childhood going “down the shore” to Atlantic City to beat the summer heat in Philadelphia. She reminisces about the beautiful white sandy beaches, the Boardwalk with its rolling chairs, the salt water taffy, Miss America pageants, and the thrilling Diving Horse shows.
With all of these memories etched in Jerome’s head, it only seemed logical to share them through her passion: making jewelry. Hence, The Atlantic City Charms Collection, her Fall 2010 collection of Atlantic City landmarks, was born.
The new collection features eight different hand-crafted charms each representing either historic or current Atlantic City landmarks. Not only are the charms beautiful; they are made from 100-percent recycled sterling silver and 14k gold. No mines were stripped for the precious metals, according to Jerome, and her designs are cast using a “green” method in which no groundwater is polluted.
When asked about her favorite design, Paula says she has two — one from her heart and one from her soul. The Bathing Beauty piece has her heart and was inspired by a picture of her mom in her 20s, posing on the Atlantic City beach. The Atlantic City Postcard charm has her soul because it speaks to her childhood nostalgia of Atlantic City and “more simpler times.”
Other iconic charms to choose from in the collection are the James Salt Water Taffy, Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy, the Diving Horse, Rolling Chair, Atlantic City Jitney, and, of course, Lucy the Elephant.
Although Jerome’s pieces were inspired by her Jersey shore memories, she consulted two local historians --Vicki Gold Levi (a consultant to HBO on Boardwalk Empire) and Allen “Boo” Pergament — to check the charms’ historical accuracy.
These unique, localized and timely pieces can be worn for both casual days and upscale events. Jerome says that her jewelry seems to have found a home with the “self-purchasing woman.” In other words, a woman who “knows who she is, what she wants, and has the ability to purchase it.” This woman can be a fashionista, a young mother, a career woman, or even a baby boomer like Jerome.
The jeweler says she tries very hard to keep all of her charm bracelets “balanced” so that they don’t roll around on one’s wrist, respecting the wearer without compromising her design.
“If you are blessed to be working with your passion that is a true sign of where you need to be,” says Jerome, who encourages artists to never give up on their passions. One of her favorite books is Malcolm Gladwell’s popular Outliers. She was impressed with Gladwell’s observation about success, which essentially says that one should work at least 10 years doing what they love to do, before they become an “overnight success.”
To see the complete Paula Jerome Designs collection, visit the Web site paulajerome.com. Lucy the Elephant in Margate currently carries some of her work as well, and pretty soon a few local businesses will be carrying her full line of charms. Her goal, she says, is to “bring joy” to the person that buys her jewelry. For more see paulajerome.com.
Which may be quite a lot of Boardwalk Empire fans this holiday season.
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.