Turning passion into profit

10:35 PM Posted by Site Editor

Turning passion into profit

For Liz Oie, jewelry making began as a way to save money, not make it.

Ten years ago, when Oie was working at Epitome in Edina, she admired the boutique's expensive jewelry but considered it out of her price range. She decided to try improving on what she saw, using higher-quality semiprecious stones, gold and silver, and making clasps more secure with supplies she found at retail shops such as the Bead Monkey and Bobby Bead.

Now her work is prominently featured at several area boutiques, at one in California and on a new website (www.oiejewelry.com). Oie was commissioned by the Minnesota Vikings a year and a half ago to make citrine-and-amethyst necklaces for the players' wives.

"[Other] people can make jewelry, but they don't know how to develop their own style. Look at Liz's pieces and you know it's Oie," said Michelle Abramson, one of Epitome's jewelry buyers.

To keep up with demand, which can be up to 50 items a week, Oie sits in her family's sunroom after dinner and works into the wee hours while watching "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."Once in a while, my fingers get sore, but not too terrible," Oie said. However, all of those hours manipulating wire do take a toll: "I could never have good nails, but I don't have time for manicures anyway."

Despite her success, Oie herself has remained under the radar. "Sometimes out in the public I tell people I like their jewelry and they say 'It's Oie. I love it.' "

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