While working her full-time job, Christin Castagne woke up at 4 o’clock in the morning to teach herself metalsmithing. She wanted to follow her passion of creating jewelry, a passion deeply rooted in an appreciation for art and what eventually became the philosophy behind her jewelry business, Hot Rocks by Christin.
“It’s more the joy of doing it, it’s not so much the gain financially, but the joy of making it as an artist,” says Castagne. “It’s the joy of pursuing something that I value.”
All of Castagne’s designs start with a unique gemstone.
Gemstones from all around the world are mined daily. According to “National Geographic,” there are more than 4,000 different types of gems, jewels and crystals. Specifically in Indonesia, jasper, a stone that can look completely different each time it is mined, is a hot commodity and has been found in almost every color known to man. In addition, jasper stones can have stripes, dots and other patterns with the presence of sulfur or other elements.
Many of Castagne’s pieces contain these different styles of jasper, a stone that has become her personal favorite and a crowd pleaser. Castagne finds a stone she wants to use and creates a design for the setting of the piece. Her jewelry mostly consists of necklaces, earrings and rings. Working with unique gemstones has been the center of Castagne’s business for the past eight years.
“What nature can put together and be so beautiful, it’s fascinating,” Castagne says.
Castagne says her customers see different things in her stones and feel connected to them in certain ways. She thinks people draw from personal experiences or from experiences in nature to relate to and enjoy the stones. This motivates Castagne to create one-of-a-kind pieces.
“When you look at it, one person sees one thing and another person sees another thing,” Cassagne says. “It’s fun when I talk to people and I show them the stones and they tell me what they think it is.”
Along with making her pieces to sell through Etsy and on Instagram, Castagne often works with customers to create personalized jewelry. She shows them the stone and sketches a design for the setting, which is usually made from sterling silver or another metal. From there, she works with the customer on any changes to create what they want. She even sends customers process photos while she’s making the piece.
“These things are unique and I’m not a production artist,” Castagne says. “Because of the stones that I use, my work is more personal.”
Castagne hopes to feature Hot Rocks by Christin in galleries throughout Raleigh within the next year. As her work is personal, unique and laborious to create, Castagne hopes her jewelry will be received, displayed and sold like pieces of art.
To shop Hot Rocks by Christin, visit etsy.com/shop/HotRocksbyChristin or follow @hotrocksbychristin on Instagram.