Dirty Librarian Chains

Sustainable jewelry line Dirty Librarian Chains is the brainchild of artist and musician Susan Domelsmith, who handcrafts incredible statement pieces from vintage elements in her Brooklyn studio.

DLC designs are not for the faint of heart.

They are creative and versatile, and, as Susan explains on her website, can go day-to-night or Brooklyn-to-Hamptons (which, for you non-New Yorkers out there can be quite a transition).  Both the name and the line itself embody a sort of “rough elegance” that’s sure to make the wearer stand out in the crowd.

The Jewelry

I am totally and complete obsessed with this jewelry.  It’s characterized by different layers and combinations of chains and other vintage elements. None of the designs are small or delicate, yet they’re inexplicably sophisticated. They’re big but not obnoxious or tacky, and truly unique.

I’ll stop talking now and let Susan’s work speak for itself:Dirty Librarian Chains

The Sustainability

Susan rescues jewelry and gives it a new and fabulous life.

She hunts through stock from factories that closed when the majority of U.S. jewelry production moved overseas.  There she finds the chains and other elements that she incorporates into her designs. All of her jewelry is made by hand in her studio, and wrapped in pages of old dictionaries for sustainable protection when it’s shipped.

Dirty Librarian Chains

Susan sourcing materials from the 60′s to the 80′s from a closed US jewelry factory

The Woman

Susan Domelsmith has been making jewelry her whole life, and though not officially trained as a jewelry designer, she does hold a degree in fine arts and draws on the principles of that education in her work.

DLC, founded in 2004, was inspired by a void in Susan’s own jewelry box.  The first piece she ever made was the Circulation Necklace:Dirty Librarian Chains

She found two multi-chain necklaces at one of her favorite vintage stores in Austin and tangled them together and added vintage charms she had in my jewelry box. That piece lead to a series of tangled chokers including the Stacks Necklace that has become a DLC classic.

“I tend to wear a lot of jewelry. I design to fit my own aesthetic, so I naturally love what I come up with and want to wear it as much as possible (until I come up with a new favorite),” Susan told HeartSleeves.

Her current favorite? She’s been wearing the Crystalline necklace almost daily.Dirty Librarian Chains

Susan is also a musician, playing keyboards and singing in the bands Open Ocean and Time Reveals.  I asked her if her music influences her jewelry.

“I do tend to design more statement pieces that would be fun to wear on stage. My series of guitar straps and guitar strap charms were also inspired by and designed for my Open Ocean bandmates.”

Dirty Librarian Chains

DLC Guitar Accessories

The Future

Future incarnations of DLC will include more limited edition and one-of-a-kind pieces sold through boutiques and at pop-up shops, allowing Susan to keep her designs fresh and inspired. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with!

Dirty Librarian Chains

Susan at an Ecco Domani Fashion Show collaboration with Tara St. James


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  1. Pingback: Made in NY Sale in NYC This Weekend | HeartSleeves

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