South Florida Jewelry Designer Turns Love For Beads Into Thriving Business
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A local jewelry designer has turned her love for exotic beads into an international business worn by fashionistas and celebrities alike.
Musa Jewelry combines beads and gemstones into necklaces and bracelets worn for their spiritual and healing properties as well as style.
Working from her home studio in Coconut Grove for the past 15 years, former wardrobe stylist Bobbie Van Der Vlugt began her successful beaded jewelry line called Musa Jewelry as occupational therapy for her mom who had Alzheimer’s.
“I wanted to make her feel useful. We started to create some of my pieces together and funny enough, I would wear them out and people would stop me and ask me, where did you get it? And then they would want to buy it off my body. It sort of grew like that,” said Van Der Vlugt.
She had always been hunting for beads on her exotic travels.
“I’ve always loved jewelry, so I would collect pieces from Morocco, African pieces, I had Aboriginal beads, I had beads from everywhere,” she said.
Soon, word caught on — loyal customers became collectors, and before she knew celebrities started jumping in on the bead bandwagon. Stars such as Uma Thurman, Lenny Kravitz, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, and more. They all wear Musa.
“It’s so so cool, but what I love is it’s always someone that I love and admire and respect. So, I feel like there’s no one that I like don’t like that where’s my jewelry, so it’s like the best brand ambassadors,” she said.
Typically she makes between one to three pieces of each design, often grouping them in families of the same colors or gemstones that can be worn together or mixed and matched. Everything is hand-cut, hand made. Many of the stones match chakras in the body.
“I look at a stone-like turquoise which I actually love for right now. From the Native Americans to the Shamans, the Tibetans, I think how did all these cultures without being able to communicate with each other decide that turquoise is a master healer? SoI feel like a conduit. It’s not really me. It’s the energy of the stones they have a vibration much like we do,” Van Der Vlugt explained.
Amethysts are said to be calming. Citrine is a love, happy and money stone, and so on.
Just this month, Musa has gone international. For their fall/winter collection, Musa by Bobbie, launches her collection for Matches Fashion, a luxury retailer out of the United Kingdom. For Van Der Vlugt, it’s a great feeling to see that others enjoy the benefits of her hard work.
“I love that my work is meaningful,” she said.