Franjuli jewelry is handcrafted by founding artist and former scientist, Lisa Cottone and her team of highly skilled apprentices and metalsmiths located in the New York area. Our pieces are crocheted with tarnish-resistant silver (argentium sterling or fine silver) into forms inspired by Lisa's scientific observations of the natural world. We are proud to say that our product is easy on the conscience as we are committed to using ethically responsible materials. Our precious metals are derived from recycled metal or are mined responsibly in the U.S.A., we only use conflict-free gemstones, and we continue to look for ways to keep our environment beautiful. Handmade Components The majority of the components in Franjuli jewelry are made by hand, or are cast from artist Lisa Cottone's design mold, though sometimes we will use a non-handmade component in certain designs. I am a scientist and an artist. Though these two professions may seem disparate, Ive created a harmony between them through the medium of silver crochet, which helped me to find my niche as a scientific artist. first learned to crochet when my grandmother molded my 5-year old hands around a crochet hook and a strand of yarn, but my journey to crocheting wearable art took a detour through academia. In my 20s and early 30s, I immersed myself in the study of neural networks, earning a PhD from Stony Brook University. I subsequently moved on to work in a high-tech neuroimaging laboratory that offered stunning glimpses of brain networks in action. I loved what I was doing, but something was missing As I became increasingly saturated with a scientific understanding of nature, my inner artist was screaming out to express the beauty of my observations; and when I serendipitously stumbled upon an opportunity to learn metal crochet from skilled artisan, Joan Dulla, the scientific artist within me was ready to hatch. I knew then that I could weave together all of the disparate parts of my life: science and art; rationalism and creativity; and a familiar technique with new materials. I crochet silver wire into wearable structures by using a minute stainless steel crochet hook; I bend, pull, and twist the wire through a series of stitches that have been adapted for work with metal. Metal wire behaves differently than yarn; it is less flexible and unforgiving. In contrast to the fast rhythm with which I crochet yarn, I adopt a significantly slower pace with metal, concentrating on each stitch to ensure its perfection before starting the next stitch. Crocheting in this manner allows me to be mentally present with the piece I am working on, as opposed to having my attention drift while my hands assume automatic pilot. As such, crocheting with wire is a mindful and meditative process, keeping me in the moment.