Nikki Lundberg was struggling to find her passion. Armed with a fashion design degree, the Wickliffe native knew she wanted to create beautiful things. So she began tinkering with knitting and crocheting before discovering how much she loved making jewelry with gemstones. Inspired by her grandfather who had been tumbling — turning rough rocks into shiny gems — since Lundberg was a little girl, the 27-year-old launched Odyssey & Oddities in 2015. “My grandfather is starting to show my mom and I how to do it,” she says. “I’m learning the basics. The process takes weeks to a month to get the stone the way you want.” Lundberg’s line includes pieces made of natural stones, brass and beads all handmade in her apartment. “I didn’t think I would be able to do it,” she says. “I’m proud of myself.”
Family Jewels: Lundberg describes herself as a “gemstone geek,” cultivating her collection of stones from her grandfather, who himself has a collection of about more than 300 stones, and from the GemStreet USA bead show, which is held every year at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. She loves working with quartz, moonstone and agate. “There are so many different variations from stone to stone,” she says of agate. “The patterns and lines are mesmerizing.”
Working Girl: After getting home from her 9-to-5 job at a local T-shirt company, Lundberg spends her time working on her jewelry line — stringing beads together for her red wooden statement necklace ($55) or trying to find two of the same shaped stones for her lapis lazuli stud earrings ($16). She even spends her Saturdays crafting. “You have to do what you have to do to survive,” she says, “but you don’t want to let your passions fall to the wayside.”
Therapy Session: Lundberg has found that making jewelry is very therapeutic for her. While working, she listens to a comedic podcast such as Last Podcast on the Left or ’70s soft rock such as the Doobie Brothers. “I’m a very anxious person, but this is calming,” she says. “I’m just thinking about making jewelry, and I’m not thinking about the stresses of the day or bills. It all just goes away. And when you find that, it’s amazing.”
Going Old-School: The ’60s and ’70s serve as major inspiration for Lundberg. “I’m so influenced by vintage,” she says. “I love simple outfits with cool earring or a cool necklace. I let the jewelry do the talking.” But Lundberg is willing to embrace other decades too. She created the Two of Hearts Choker necklace ($30) with silver- or gold-plated heart charms after she saw the ’90s trend resurfacing. “It’s my interpretation of what I see people wearing,” she says.
Pair these chalcedony blue lace agate stud earrings ($16) — each unique in cut, color and shape — with any outfit for a pretty pop of pale blue.