Local business links jewelry and history together

Posted: 7:14 PM, Jul 20, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-21 18:37:09-04

Margaret Gerner, owner of de Petites Merveilles, makes one-of-a-kind jewelry using trade beads she's collected overseas.

Most of the beads used to make her necklaces, bracelets and earrings are from Venice, Italy and date back to the 1800s. 

"So far, they've gone from Europe to Africa to North America all the way to Asia and that just fascinated me. What stories they would tell if they could talk," says Gerner. 

Gerner says the colorful, antique glass beads were used for trade. Europeans would barter them or give them as gifts in exchange for gold, fur, food - even slaves.

The small items have done quite a bit of traveling.

"How could they have traveled so far and come back looking like this? That, for me, was the interesting thing and that's when I thought 'they should be sitting in a drawer,'" says Gerner. 

So that's why she pieces jewelry and history together.

"People love stories and when you tell them where they're from it just adds to the jewelry," says Gerner. "It's not something you find just anywhere."

See for yourself here