There’s nothing like finding that one special piece of jewelry that completes your whole look. And it’s even better when the jewelry is handmade with quality materials by someone who is truly passionate about the craft. Look no further than Paul Wardach, creator of State College Sterling. Valley sat down with Wardach to discuss the ins-and-outs of designing and creating handmade jewelry.
Penn State’s own Paul Wardach is a sophomore material science engineering major from Clarks Summit, PA. He loves working with metals, and for him, jewelry-making is the perfect outlet to refine his metal-working skills and to embrace a creative challenge.
“Anything working with metal is right up my alley,” he says. “That’s always been my thing.”
Wardach inherited his passion for working with metals from his father, who owns Square Tool & Die Corp. in Throop, PA.
“My interest in metals – that’s what kind of sparked me to start making jewelry.”
His first experience making jewelry was also right in his own family.
“I started making jewelry way, way back,” he says. “I made a ring for my sister a long time ago. It was for Christmas.”
This past Christmas, Wardach decided to make something for his other sister. “So I figured I’d step it up a little. I’m getting better with my metal skills.” He made her a pair of earrings.
“They came out really well,” he says. “She liked them, and my mother liked them, so I made another pair for her.”
From there, Wardach knew he was ready to expand his jewelry-making skills even further, and State College Sterling was born.
“After that, I started to look for more inspiration to make more types of earrings, and I started to do rings, as well — all out of sterling silver.”
Wardach encourages jewelry-seekers to bring him custom designs for him to bring to life.
“I do enjoy a challenge,” he says. “If you can draw a picture, I’ll do my best to make it.”
Wardach truly enjoys the jewelry-making process. While he charges money so that he can afford to buy more supplies, he is not focused on profit.
“I very much take pride in my work,” he says. “Everything’s gotta be down to the thousandth of an inch.”
Wardach strongly believes in quality. He makes sure that none of the materials he uses for his jewelry contain nickel.
“Anything that I use, I always make sure that it has no nickel in it,” he says.
Wardach, who is allergic to nickel himself, makes sure to test all of his material prior to creating jewelry.
“I test it on myself to make sure that there’s no nickel in it,” he says.
Wardach is proud of all of his jewelry, but he has noticed that a crowd favorite seems to be his wave ring, a silver ring designed in the shape of a wave. He says its one of his “most popular” items.
To see what unique piece of jewelry Wardach will create next, follow @statecollegesterling on Instagram. To purchase jewelry or to submit a custom design, message the account directly on Instagram.