The Impact of LGBTQIA Pride Jewelry: My Journey

Even though one of the very first pieces I ever made in chainmaille was a rainbow pride piece, I didn't really lean into pride jewelry until about a year ago. There's a few reasons it took so long. In the early years, I constantly put my jewelry line on the back burner as my supplies business Blue Buddha Boutique commanded most of my energy. In the middle years, a co-worker was creating a lot of rainbow jewelry, and I didn't want to step on their toes, so I limited myself to the occasional rainbow piece.

Then, around 2020, my world turned upside down. Not only were we at the start of a pandemic, but I was experiencing serious health issues, both physical and mental. The pandemic's uncertainty collided with my own struggles, leaving me feeling overwhelmed and directionless. The voice in my head was ... not very kind. 

Seeking a Better World

Although depression distorted some of my thoughts, I also recognized the realities of our culture—a culture that prioritizes consumption over compassion. A system that sends messages to “get thicker skin” rather than lift each other up. Marginalized communities in particular bear the brunt of this negativity.

Our society felt like a very unwelcome environment while I was at my lowest points. I yearned for a world that instead sent a message of, “Hey, we see you're struggling, and we gotchu! We'll help you access treatment and give you the time you need to recover without financial worry."

That is the world I envision: one that prioritizes compassion and healing, where basic needs are met, and fear of medical debt doesn't exist. It's a world where creativity and exploration thrive. It's a world where everyone feels valued, valid and free to be themselves.

A Spark of Change

I knew I wanted to contribute to creating this world. While my impact might seem small, I believe in the power of incremental steps and cumulative, collective action.

I’m still figuring out how my activism can best serve my community, but one unexpected way that I’ve started to make a difference is through creating pride jewelry. As my physical issues began to improve and I started clawing my way out of my metal abyss, I made a pair of rainbow spike earrings. Realizing I could create other LGBTQ pride flags, I added them based on customer requests—learning quite a bit about microlabels in the process!—and began offering the pridemaille collection to shops across the US. It became a bit of an obsession of mine to hunt down the perfect dye lot to create as many flags as possible.

The Power of Connection

The most unexpected and heartwarming part of this journey has been the outpouring of messages from customers. 

"These are great and comfortable to wear. The style is so simple and it's a great way to quietly show pride without drawing too much hateful attention to my identity."

Some excitedly wrote that they were buying their first piece of pride jewelry, and they couldn't wait! I heard from someone who lives in a place where they feel they cannot share their identity with their community, so they wear their necklace under their shirt, as a physical reminder that their identity is valid. Other folks have expressed how delighted they were to find elegant, high-quality pride jewelry in lesser-known flags. Many customers have said that my words of positivity on their order receipts brought tears of joy and hope to their eyes.

I'm deeply grateful for all these messages, and they were a vital part of my own healing process. Even as I regularly purge hateful comments from my social media, those are vastly outnumbered by the positive messages. Knowing I’m helping people feel good about themselves is incredibly rewarding. 

Tangent: If there's someone whose work inspires you, especially a small-time creator or shop, take a moment to send them a quick fan note (making it clear you don't expect a reply) or share their work on social media. Even one sentence can make someone's day. It truly does make a difference!

Looking Forward

Creating pride jewelry isn’t just about self-expression for my customers; it’s been a transformative experience for me. It’s helped me re-find my voice, connect with a wonderful community, and contribute in my own small way to a more positive world. It's a constant reminder of the power of small steps and the importance of expressing ourselves authentically.

I'm excited to see where this creative path leads, one colorful design and heartwarming message at a time.


What are your thoughts on the power of self-expression? Feel free to drop me a note or share your stories in the comments section or on social media.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published