Chippewa Valley Jewelry Designer Thrives on Elegant Curves

Laura Lash, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Sarah Willger
Sarah Willger

The Token Jewelry collection displays fine lines and delicate details in such an ethereal way it will have you thinking of silver linings on dark clouds or the sliver of an amber moon in the fall night sky. The jewelry designed by Sarah Willger radiates such a soft golden hue that even the larger pieces still have a light finesse about them.

Willger began designing jewelry from her home in 2006. With former career strides in marketing and branding, she knew when naming her own pursuit that she “wanted something simple and straightforward; a single word that would capture the essence of my creations.” The word “token” remained with her through all of her middle-of-the-night ruminations.

“When you see something beautiful come to life in the studio that started as a rough sketch in a notebook, it’s a really incredible feeling.” – Sarah Willger, Token Jewelry

The Token line has a sensitivity in its delicate curves yet emits elemental strength. To behold the delicate gold and silver designs of Token Jewelry is like cupping a bit of Tuscan sun in the palm of your hand. Sarah draws inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright designs and the writings of Adrienne Rich. Wright’s pragmatic yet earthy, sculpted designs are echoed here. Rich’s essays and poetry on feminism and the diverse roles in a woman’s life may infuse Willger’s work with thoughtfulness, purpose, and earthiness.

“My love of simple silhouettes and clean lines is reflected in many of my jewelry designs, but I also love the free-spirited and whimsical bohemian style, too,” she said. “I strive to create timeless, thoughtful designs that complement the individual beauty and various styles of all women.”

When making a pair of earrings, Sarah’s creative process begins with sterling silver or 14k gold-filled wire she forms and hammers by hand. “I use various semi-precious gemstones like aquamarine, moonstone, and labradorite,” she said. “Each pair is hand-cut with a saw, filed and then either finished with a modern, brushed look or hammered to a high shine that is really eye-catching. When you see something beautiful come to life in the studio that started as a rough sketch in a notebook, it’s a really incredible feeling.” The earrings have an airiness about them that make them seem like a feathery adornment on any modern woman who chooses to wear them.

Token Jewelry is one of the new occupants of the expanded Artisan Forge Studios, 1106 Mondovi Road. “This past summer, I finally felt like I could balance growing the wholesale side of my business along with selling online through my Etsy Shop while raising a young family,” Sarah said. The studio is a sunlight-filled creative space that doubles as home to her work table with materials and as a showroom of her fine collection. The space elevates her designs, giving them the respectful, encased display they deserve. The sparse studio space has a minimalist polish to it. Sarah previously worked as a stylist for photo shoots while a creative director and graphic designer for two national publications. Her professional skills for branding, photography, and styling are lending themselves to the modern and mature marketing presence of Token.

Sarah’s work is available in such far-flung locations as Jackson, Wyoming, and Buffalo, New York, which speaks to its warm acceptance. “I had just signed a lease to move into Artisan Forge Studios and created my line sheet to start sending to potential retailers,” she said. “I’m a big believer that when you put things out into the universe, the universe delivers when the timing is right.” Token also can be found in four of the eight locations of the Minnesota based Patina Stores. Locally her jewelry retails at Red’s Mercantile and Mainstream Boutique.

While Token is currently sold online through Etsy, a new e-commerce site will launch in November, offering the entire collection of handmade jewelry, as well as gift cards and a wish list to make holiday shopping even easier.

For more information or to browse the full Token Jewelry collection, visit tokenjewelrydesigns.com.

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