One Word, Many Meanings: Wendy Woldenberg

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Wendy Woldenberg

WEND Jewelry


A goldsmith and founder of WEND Jewelry, Wendy Woldenberg taught high school jewelry/metals for 22 years while making custom jewelry on school breaks. After a two-week backpacking trip around Mount Rainier, everything changed. She founded WEND Jewelry, a rugged fine jewelry brand focused on ethical sourcing and nature-inspired designs. She serves on the board of directors of Ethical Metalsmiths and the Seattle Chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association.

What does responsible design mean to you?
I believe in designing with meaning and impact. Whatever you create can be loved for many generations. And designing so that when something is no longer loved, it can be reworked into something new easily. I design with “heirloom makeovers” in mind—fewer or no solder seams, less plating, no glue—to make it easier to take apart and reuse the materials.

How do you incorporate responsibility into your jewelry-making practices?
When possible, we recycle clients’ pieces directly: testing metal and gemstones, taking their heirlooms apart, designing future heirlooms that will last for generations, casting their metal into those new pieces, and setting their original gems back in.

Beyond making over heirlooms, I’ve limited myself to materials that leave as little impact on the Earth as possible, such as estate gems and certified recycled or client metal. When buying new materials, I focus on items that benefit the source communities directly, such as Fairmined gold, Moyo Gems [a gemstone collaboration with women artisanal gem miners in Tanzania and Kenya]—companies that are really doing their due diligence and working with source communities.