Hearld and Journal, Dec. 10, 2001

Carved stone, metal jewelry are duo's specialty

By Lynda Jensen

Carved stone and metal jewelry is the specialty of a mother-daughter duo who live in rural Winsted.

Maggie Schmidt, 13, and her mother Mary use all kinds of natural elements, such as jasper, hematite, and semi-precious stones to create contemporary earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

What makes this jewelry different is that Maggie has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

The same hands that bring her pain, also work carefully to make delicate Christmas presents this time of year.

The disease causes pain in her ankles, feet, wrists, hands, and knees, Mary said.

Mary has been making this kind of jewelry for several years and has been teaching Maggie how to do it over the past year.

"It's the kind of pain that only older people would know," she commented.

Looking at Maggie, one would never know this because of her smiling eyes and bouncy demeanor.

Maggie ends up staying home extended periods of time because of her illness, and started making jewelry with her mother this year to pass the time away.

She was kept in a wheelchair during third grade because of her disease, and spent up to three months at home during kindergarten.

This year, as a seventh grader at Lester Prairie, she's been kept home for about one month due to her illness, Mary said.

She fights the boredom by using her creative skills to make the jewelry, Maggie said. "It's fun to see what you can put together," she added.

Each piece of jewelry made by the Schmidts exhibits its own character, with the stones showing distinctive features from each kind of rock, Mary said.

For example, one stone called lapis lazuli, is a deep cobalt blue with gold flecks. This stone is known for its use by royalty, and is her personal favorite, Mary said.

Other stones, such as hematite - Maggie's favorite - are a glossy dark grey, with a shiny luster.

They can make custom jewelry to match the color of certain outfits, such as for weddings, Mary said.

The Schmidts have attended about four craft shows so far this year.

Their creativity comes from a long line of artists, poets and painters, Mary said.

Maggie's older sister, Katie, 17, is a photographer.

In fact, Maggie's grandfather, the late Christian Schmidt, was renowned in jewelry circles across the nation for his work. He produced a text "Encounter with Art," which is used as a college textbook.

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