Sterlynxsilver was founded in 1991 mainly as a means to help support an expensive hobby. Over the years, it has seen many changes in the evolution to the jewelry business it is today.
My 2017 rebrand and stand alone website Ann Gilligan Designs focuses more on the fine silver art jewelry aspect of my business.
All pieces are handmade and many are one of a kind. Designs are inspired by all things natural and textural: leaves, sticks, berries, rocks, even bugs!
Materials include, but are not limited to fine and sterling silver, copper, semi-precious gemstones, art glass, cz’s, fossils, bone, leather and wood. All earwires and findings are handmade from either sterling silver or copper, and fine silver pieces are formed from recycled silver and Precious Metal Clay. Many designs combine traditional silver-smithing techniques with PMC.
Some of the fine silver pieces are hand carved designs, while others are actual images pressed directly onto the metal clay in its unfired form.
Each piece is created with love and care to bring you closer to nature with a truly unique, organic wearable piece of art.
I started drawing and painting at a very young age. Watercolors were my first love, and I had my first exhibit at a bank in Parkersburg when I was in seventh grade.
It wasn’t until after I graduated from high school that I discovered my true passion – metal-smithing and jewelry-making. Frustrated that I could not find a pendant with a trilobite fossil (long before the Internet), I decided I would have to make my own.
Fortunately for me, I had stayed in touch with my high school art teacher Margaret Osborne, who was not only a talented artist in many media, but also a master silversmith. She graciously invited me into her home and shared her tools and knowledge. I still wear my trilobite necklace to this day!
After graduating from Glenville State College in 1988 with a BS in Business Administration, I managed a small framing and art gallery where I learned the art of custom framing, art preservation, and also sold some of my own paintings and did some custom calligraphy. It was also at this time that I started my own small jewelry business selling to local shops and on eBay when it was the new “big thing.” I named my business Sterlynxsilver, which was a play on words, because at the time we owned a Canadian Lynx named Gus, and her image became my shop logo.
When the framing store’s owners had to move out of town, they sold the store, and sadly I had to switch gears/careers and dove headfirst into the field of veterinary medicine. I started as a surgery tech, eventually becoming involved in all aspects of hospital administration.
Fast forward 25+ years, and that old itch was becoming increasingly hard to ignore. I had long been curious about the precious metal clays I’d first heard of in the early 90’s. Time and circumstance prohibited me from dabbling.
Finally, in 2015 I took the plunge, cut my hospital schedule to two days a week, bought a kiln and some clay, and with a lot of trial and error, began to learn about this wonderful medium.