By: Chrysa Smith
Been to a trade show lately?
It seems that whatever you’re selling, whoever you’re selling to, wherever you’re doing the selling you can count on one thing. There will always be at least one jewelry vendor.
Because after you’ve looked at all of the products, people and programs, you need something pretty. Something aesthetically pleasing. Something to delight the senses.
Usually I don’t find it. At least not until this past week, when I hit the mother-lode.
At the National Catholic Education Association conference in Pittsburgh, I turned the corner of an aisle and, as if my magnetic force, was drawn into the booth belonging to ‘Full of Grace, Divine Designs.’
I tried to resist, but the temptation was far too great, because their jewelry is a combination of iconic Christian artifact and elegant artisan work. Semi-precious stones, beads and medallions interpreted from the ancient European all come together in a beautiful, harmonic blend of chic and tradition. Faith and fashion. Beauty and beading. Well, you see where I’m headed with this.
Melissa Woods is the face of Full of Grace. While she wasn’t at the trade show, her parents (aka sales force) were. And it was then, that I heard her inspiring story and realized that this line of jewelry was so much more than a job. It is a calling.
When Melissa suddenly and tragically lost her husband, she wasn’t quite sure where life would take her. Turns out, it took her talent and turned it into a therapeutic work of art—business of art—life of art. Melissa was drawn to ancient European religious medallions. She says it was the detail and beauty that drew her, her interest in faith filled jewelry and not finding what she was looking for on the market.
A degree in business meant that jewelry-making was a talent later discovered–proving that true callings often come when least expected, and the ability to completely redirect ourselves is fully possible and perhaps more fulfilling.
Relationships were made with a supplier in Belgium. And Melissa had them re-cast here in the states. She plays with lengths of chains, which are either 14K or sterling electroplated, semi-precious stones like amethyst, garnet, aquamarine and fresh water pearls and crystals. This comes together with popular fashion colors and her beautiful creations take form.
Available online and through a growing number of retail outlets, Melissa believes this ministry has been a vehicle to talk, share and minister to others with her story of loss, hope, love and eventually joy again.
Check out her array of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other accessories at www.spiritually-hip.com.