Her favorite stone is amethyst, raw and unpolished in its natural state. With the meditative music of Thomas Newman playing softly in the background, jewelry designer and Reiki master Nita Blum brings the purple crystalline quartz to life, sanding down edges, wrapping it with her inventive soft-wire cages, and charging it full of positive energy to be enjoyed by the happy customer who wears it.
Each piece of Golden Plume jewelry is made in Blum's sun-drenched home in Marina del Rey with her own healing hands. She was attuned three months ago as a master of the Japanese technique, believed to balance an unseen life force energy in people and objects with the laying of hands. Since crystal is a living object, explains Blum, Reiki is especially powerful in bringing out its natural shine and luster.
"I've seen crystals that are kind of dreary, and you just Reiki them for a few days and put them out in the full moon, and they come back to life. They glisten. Just like caring for a plant."
Sparkling crystals and electric blue quartz daggers mix in among chunky turquoise rings, sea glass necklaces and jade pendants, a palette of natural California pastels that enamored the New York native when she moved to LA. Blum had been doing editing and post production at A&E Networks, cutting original content shorts and creating website promos for shows including Modern Marvels, Gene Simmons, and Dog: The Bounty Hunter. You can also thank her very much for delivering The Jersey Shore in HD. She hoped that the move to LA would elicit more creative opportunities in filmmaking, but she veered further into the digital space with equal success and a new-found talent in social media management and marketing. Though grateful, the restless artist was still quietly discontent and longing for an outlet. Then one girls' night out solved everything. A friend and fellow classmate from her film school days at Temple University, who coincidentally now lived blocks away in Venice, invited Blum to attend a jewelry making class at KiKi Designs on Abbot Kinney (which has since relocated to Main Street in Santa Monica).
"I just fell in love with it, and I literally said, 'I want to do this. Can I come back every day and work for you guys?' I came back to a bunch of their jewelry making classes, and then I wanted to further that, so I went to Otis College and took some continuing education classes there. I took all my background from filmmaking, editing and marketing, and I created my own website. I got all my friends together, all my local friends who aren't models but who are really nice, and modeled all of the jewelry collection. I took their photographs, edited them, put them online, made videos, just did the entire packaging for Golden Plume."
Her stones and materials are all fair trade and delivered in eco-friendly packaging, and the inspiration for every piece is soaked in California sunshine.
"I just looked around, I walked around the Marina and Venice and started to find inspiration in the colors in the sand, the sun, just all those feelings of Southern California that are so different to me because I've only been here five years," says Blum. "It wasn't New York. It wasn't tiny little silver beads. To me it was big, rustic stones that represented this area - big natural pieces of stone, and gold because of the sun. It's just always sunny here, and I felt that the gold was very warming."
In the past two years of business, Golden Plume has delivered more than 900 pieces and has grown the collection to 120 designs, not including custom work that's become increasingly popular among brides. Her emerald agate necklaces were gifted at the Golden Globes this year, and millions of online shoppers discovered the brand when it was featured on the design-centric discount site Fab.com.
Blum now hosts jewelry making classes for her friends and fellow yogis and eagerly helps anyone who is interested in learning more about the craft or starting their own venture. Even if there is a lull in orders or an overwhelming spike, it's all a welcomed challenge.
"There was no looking back because i was ready to make a change, and that was it," says Blum. "I really enjoyed every part of making the business, from the jewelry to the marketing, to the branding. I liked every aspect of it, so it was perfect."
Photos and video for this story courtesy Golden Plume.