Shop Your Local Museum

While it's not the first place you'd think to shop for jewelry, take a field trip to your local museum gift shop. You might find that it's a diamond in the rough.
Every exhibit in a museum tells a story, and if you glance through the gift shop, most of the jewelry does, too.

"We hand-make everything from carving the leather -- from cutting the metal, from forging it and everything. All the magic is done in this little table," says Cynthia Sheridan, sitting in her design studio.

She and sister Lorena Rodriguez hand-make their De Petra jewelry line there, while their mom watches over them in a picture.

"My mom is a great inspiration. So I see her all the time there, and it's like so I imagine how she would look with this or that. It's just an inspiration, a great inspiration, my mom," says Sheridan.

De Petra jewelry started more than ten years ago and each day, each piece of work starts with a single mineral or stone.

The sisters pride themselves with using raw, earthly materials with an ancient feel. They say, in the end, it connects the world to the wearer.

"The beautiful part is that people who get to choose our jewelry they feel just connected with it. It makes them feel powerful, feminine, but yet strong," says Sheridan.

Many of the stones and minerals they use actually come from the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) in the first place.

"So it is kind of like the ultimate recycling gig. Taking pieces of nature from the museum store transforming them into master works of jewelry and then offering them back for sale in the same store. It's kind of cool," says Joel Bartsch, president of HMNS.

"But moreover, Bartsch adds, "When you shop at a museum store, it allows you to take home a piece of your experience with you. Every single penny that we make as far as profit from the museum store goes to support the museum's education programs, so support your local museums, get in the museum stores, buy things for yourself and buy things for others too. Not only will you treasure them but they will as well."

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