In fall 2001, Austinite Cynthia Bloom rediscovered a long-forgotten gift, an antique multi-strand necklace that had belonged to a friend’s grandmother. The once-elegant Belle Epoque necklace had fallen apart, and Cynthia decided to refashion the beautiful old glass beads into something new and different. In doing so, she kindled a creative flame and launched a new career which has grown from — literally — selling her jewelry designs out of an old wooden cigar box to a rapidly growing enterprise with more than 100 retailers in 25 states across the U.S.
Schooled in fashion merchandising, metal-smithing, and photography, Bloom, like many artists, found that she had to put her creative aspirations on hold in order to work a day job. However, the restaurant where she worked provided an enthusiastic market for her blossoming venture. Bloom showcased her early creations — fashioned from what she would discover were very rare turn-of-the-century Czechoslovakian white satin glass beads — to the restaurant’s regulars in an old cigar box. Quickly she found that patrons, dazzled by the brilliant sparkle and alluring history of the beads, were asking to buy her pieces right off her neck, and she launched a quest to find more of these intriguing baubles. In the process, Bloom also learned about bead and crystal quality and jewelry craftsmanship.
Two years later, Cynthia was able to quit her day job and devote full time to designing collectible jewelry featuring rare, hard-to-find European beads, crystals, glass buttons, and other unique objets d’art. Today she has developed a worldwide network to locate the ever-diminishing supply of the antiquities which grace her work. Cynthia Bloom Collectible Jewelry focuses on creating high-quality unique pieces of jewelry which capture the historical period from which the materials are sourced. She takes pride in quality and limited production runs, the result of her early decision to center her designs on rare antique and vintage items. Most of her crystals and beads are from Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Italy, and a number of her sources salvaged the bead clusters (or hanks) from war-shattered factories of Europe.
“These are such spectacular pieces of the past,” Bloom says with enthusiasm. “Centuries of Czech beadmaking craft and color secrets have been lost or destroyed during two world wars, so these beads will never be produced again. The brilliant craftsmanship and the story behind the pieces gives meaning to my work and places it within the rich tapestry of history. This makes my collection unique and so much more fun to wear than something that is mass-produced by the hundreds.”