SEATTLE — Wendy Woldenberg's life has been a wending journey, so it makes sense she named her jewelry store WEND Jewelry. She was a high school jewelry teacher for twenty years, until a hike on the Wonderland trail changed her.
"I had this amazing experience where some girlfriends invited me to go on a hike, and I literally had not hiked in 15 years," Woldenberg says. "But where most people saw a glacier or a waterfall or leaves, I saw jewelry."
And that led her to open her jewelry studio in West Seattle, where Woldenberg dreams up earth-inspired designs at her jewelers bench.
"I make everything by hand," Woldenberg says.
This is extremely unique for an industry where almost all jewelry is designed on a computer and finished in a factory. Woldenberg touches every single piece in her studio.
At WEND Jewelry, you'll find rings inspired by the gentle currents of tidepools and roots woven in silver and gold. There's even a little bowl of stones from Washington state that Woldenberg can turn into a ring for you.
Her love for nature goes far beyond her designs. Woldenberg's jewelry is made from certified recycled metals. If you bring a heirloom gold piece to WEND, Woldenberg can even melt the gold into your new piece of jewelry.
You might notice that Wendy's designs don't appear particularly feminine or masculine. That's intentional - all of jewelry at WEND is created to be gender-neutral.
"I truly believe that gender doesn't have to define your jewelry, jewelry doesn't have to define your gender, that your humanity should define your jewelry and what you choose," Woldenberg says.
Wendy Woldenberg went from a school to a studio - all thanks to a life-changing hike.
"It was so different than anything I had experienced and so overwhelmingly powerful," Woldenberg says.
And she ended up in West Seattle, bringing beauty to the world.