Shaker Woods ~ Festival Articles
Schriever:Transforming Silverware To Silver “Wear”
When Bob Schriever, of Cincinnati, Ohio, retired from his job as a high school math teacher, he looked for a creative hobby he and his wife Joan could enjoy together.
Bob remembered one of his former students worked his way through college making jewelry and enjoyed it so much he became a jeweler. He also recalled Navy buddies during World War II who made jewelry for their girlfriends from silver tableware.
The idea fascinated him and he began experimenting making bracelets from spoon handles. Bob cut away the spoon end and bent the handles this way and that until he had a pleasing shape. Then, he added a jump ring, a clasp and a small trademark [charm] to the bracelet.
“He has an artistic gift that lay dormant all those years,” his wife said. “He never tires of working with the silverware and he’s constantly experimenting with new ideas.”
Bob found the tines of salad forks make beautiful earrings and he could turn an oyster fork into a custom ring. Spoon bowls had endless possibilities. Joan and their friends who received gifts were the first models and encouraged him to continue.
“Many people ask where we get the silverware - all silver plate,” Joan said. “Is it safe to invite you to dinner, they ask me?”
Actually, Bob’s artistic endeavor requires Joan’s savvy shopping: “Bob says I have a knack for choosing the right patterns at auctions, flea markets and secondhand stores. Every silver pattern isn’t a winner.”
Joan admits she made some mistakes in the beginning. Her 15-year experience as Bob’s material buyer, quality control person and jewelry consultant at craft shows makes it possible for her to advise customers who want them to turn family heirlooms into jewelry.
“Last year, acquaintances asked us to make jewelry they received in the mail from their grandparents in East Germany. Over a period of time, they received some of the packages that were sent, but some were lost and they didn’t have a complete set,” Joan said. “There wasn’t enough to use as tableware, but they were thrilled we were able to make enough jewelry that everyone in the family could have mementoes to share.”
Although all jewelry they display at Shaker Woods is made of silver-plated tableware, many of their custom orders are made from a family’s sterling silver.
“Sterling silver is so expensive that we couldn’t afford to buy it and try to resell it as jewelry. However, sterling silver tableware makes beautiful jewelry,” she said.
Bob makes rings and bracelets in several sizes, and at Shaker Woods, Joan takes the time to make sure each piece fits the buyer, saying, “You may find people crowded around our booth because buying our jewelry is very much one-on-one. We want each person to be perfectly satisfied. When you craft because you love to do it, hearing firsthand how people enjoy our jewelry adds to our pleasure.”
It’s been 17 years since the Schriever’s made their first appearance at Shaker Woods. While the product line has changed during the 30-plus years Silver “Wear” has been in business, the quality of its service and workmanship is still the “best!”
Bob, at 90 years young, still makes bracelets, rings, earrings and pendants, but is teaching daughter Linda the skills required to keep the special brand of jewelry as a family business. Granddaughter Dana participates when school and social events allow. Joan is retired from Silver “Wear” but often gets asked for her opinion and to conduct quality control, which she generously provides with a smile.
Adult bracelets range in price from $25 to $35. Most rings are $15, but some are $20. Earrings are priced at $12 and pendants range from $16 to $45.
Customers who bring silverware to Shaker Woods will receive finished work via mail after the show.
Find the Schriever’s in Booth 183 (near Ticket Booth “A” Red).