06/22/2010 at 02:53 PM EDT
Don't you wish there was a universal sign for "animal lover"? That way you could walk down the street and know immediately who's a kindred animal spirit, and who isn't. Stick Man
animal necklaces could be just the sign we all need.
Brushed sterling silver gives these hanging critters by jewelry designer Virginia Widen a trendy look that any of us would proudly wear around our necks. And, with a line of animals to choose from -- like cats, dogs, giraffes, squirrels,
-- there's definitely a tag for everyone.
Widen's playful stick figure look developed on a whim when she engraved a stick man onto a piece of copper jewelry she was designing for a customer. Not thinking much of it, she then started engraving stick cats and dogs and before she knew it (poof!) she had a hit on her hands. "Customers started asking for other animals," she tells PEOPLEPets.com. "We've been designing animal jewelry ever since."
Nature is her biggest inspiration, she says, with a nod to folk art, classic cartoon and children's drawings. Along with her husband, Edward Strawiak, they work together to build their unique creations, first with a master design made in metal and later into a mold used to cast each silver piece.
Her current bestsellers are the elephant and giraffe
but Widen is partial to the little dragon
necklace. While they don't take custom requests, she confesses, "our customers have given us many of our best ideas."
Check out Widen's Etsy shop
and get a necklace ($25) or earrings ($29) to top off any outfit. See something on Etsy that you'd like us to profile in this weekly column? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. Read last week's Etsy Fave, here.