How did you start making jewelry?

Amy Smetana admits she didn't know much about jewelry when a neighbor asked her to repair a broken bracelet years ago. But rather than say no, Smetana, a lifelong learner, set out to teach herself how to fix her friend's treasured piece of jewelry.

Little did Smetana know that years later, jewelry would become her full-time job and artistic passion. Working from her studio in her Downers Grove home, Smetana not only repairs jewelry but creates it using a collection of skills and techniques that she continues to build.

"As I've stuck with it, I've really grown a following," said Smetana, owner and founder of Eye Candy by Amy.

Her journey to jewelry making didn't take a direct route. Smetana studied psychology in college and went on to work in several different fields before discovering her knack for creating one-of-a-kind bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings. What started with seed beads and crystals has evolved over the years to include an eclectic and always expanding repertoire of techniques and styles. Wire wrapping, stone setting and handmade glass beads are just a few of the many skills that Smetana uses in creating her jewelry. One of the latest techniques in Smetana's jewelry-making arsenal involves creating wax castings for one-of-a-kind settings.

Smetana will make her seventh appearance at the Hinsdale Fine Arts Show in Burlington Park June 4 and 5. This is just one of a handful of area shows that Smetana attends every year. Even during the pandemic, she took her jewelry to Hinsdale for the annual show.

"People came out. I was shocked," she said, and pleasantly surprised.

Those who visit her exhibit this year will see a variety of new styles, many of which will include uncut, organic stones. She also enjoys mixing metals while offering customers a variety of looks and price points. Smetana isn't one to stick to a signature look.

"That's not me," she said.

If Smetana had a signature piece, it might be her anticlastic bangle bracelets, each featuring pearls or semi-precious stones. The best sellers will be back at the Hinsdale show. Customers also will find classic pieces like adjustable-length chains, strands of hand-strung pearls and one-of-a-kind keepsakes.

"I want to help my customers build a jewelry wardrobe," she said.

Whether a shopper is looking for a simple gift or a new family heirloom, Smetana wants them to find it among her creations. And if they don't find it at the Hinsdale show, chances are she can create it in her home studio, where she also repairs treasured pieces that have been broken or damaged.

"I want to be the one they come back to for every occasion," she said.

Customers can preview Smetana's work on her Etsy site, EyeCandybyAmy. She will be one of more than 80 artists from across the country to showcase their work during the 49th annual Hinsdale Fine Arts Show, set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, in Burlington Park in downtown Hinsdale.

­- by Sandy Illian Bosch

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean