Horse Nation reader Jennifer Metesh writes about combining her passions for horses and silversmithing with giving back to her local horse community.
As a horsewoman, I understand that horses are more than just animals to us. They are coworkers, partners, friends, or even family members. As a silversmith, I appreciate the beauty, uniqueness, and special feeling you get from wearing a custom, handmade piece of jewelry with special meaning. My name is Jennifer Metesh and I am combining these two aspects of my life to create a unique way to give back to the equine community.
Two of my biggest passions are horses and history. When I lost my first horse, Holliday, I was looking for a way to honor his memory and keep him with me every day. That’s when the Victorian era of mourning jewelry came to mind. During that time, people would braid locks of a loved one’s hair, set it under glass, and have it turned into jewelry. I wanted to use that inspiration to keep Holliday with me. Unable to find anything that was similar to what I was looking for, I learned how to make it myself. Almost immediately, my coworkers at the vet clinic noticed the jewelry I was making and wanted pieces for themselves! Encouraged by my friends and coworkers, I began to make my jewelry available to others.
Started in 2018, Olden J Designs was created to blend this love of history and horses into a company that will allow others to carry their beloved pets with them in the form of custom jewelry made with their horse’s hair. While mostly doing commissions for other owners who have lost their own horses and pets, people who don’t have horses had also expressed interest in my jewelry for its simple, yet delicate design. To acquire horsehair for these pieces, I decided to ask local equine rescues for locks from residents in order to bring awareness to those organizations that rescue and care for horses in need. It also provided an opportunity to give back to my community. Jewelry that is made with the hair from these rescue horses will have a portion of the sales donated back to the rescue operations.
I am excited to announce that my first partnership is with the Equine Rescue League in Lovettsville, Virginia. In operation since 1990, they have been successfully rescuing and rehabilitating horses at Promise Kept Farm. Equine rescues are an important, if unfortunate, aspect of our community. They educate and advocate for the wellbeing of horses and work to end the suffering of those who have been abused and/or abandoned. As nonprofits, they rely on volunteers, donations, and involved communities to thrive.
Everyone has unique gifts and talents in life, and we can all use them to give back to our communities. I chose to combine my love of horses, history, and silversmithing into custom, handmade jewelry that shows a love for horses while at the same time giving back to the organizations that have dedicated their life’s work to the creatures that have given us their all.
The special pieces made for the Equine Rescue League will be available for purchase online at www.oldenjdesigns.com. If you are an equine rescue who would like to participate in this program, or you’d like to commission a piece for yourself, please contact me at [email protected].
Some of the hair included in these pieces came from Charlie, a 10 year old mare of unknown descent. She is halter trained only, but is sound and sweet! She is available for adoption through the Equine Rescue League and is ready for her next forever home! For more information about the Equine Rescue League and the work they do, please visit www.equinerescueleague.org.
Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.