“Really, It’s nature that ignites me,” says Jenny Benscher, creative eye behind the chic and edgy new jewelry line, Lema J. “I guess a lot of artists feel the same, but it’s true; it’s the one thing that has always inspired me.”
Jenny and her sister Jill Becker founded Lema J together in September of 2013. Jenny, having always had a talent for creativity and a passion for jewelry design, spotted a shagreen bag on the street and immediately fell in love with its exotic texture.
“Organic patterns, natural layers, textures – textures have always fascinated me. It’s all about seeing what’s already there and finding beauty in what is,” she says. “To me at least,” she adds with a laugh.
And yet, this is precisely what their brand is founded on: taking what is – no matter how dire it first may appear – and finding, somehow, the elegance within. Though Jenny and Jill have certainly experienced their share of tribulation, the sisters managed, largely through the birth of Lema J, to transform their adversity into something with meaning and charm.
When Jill lost her only daughter, Cara, to Leukemia in December of 2012, Jenny wanted to give her sister something special, “something that would help her feel safe.” So Jenny crafted the first Shagreen cuff, orange in color (Cara’s favorite) and embellished with a large protective eye, a symbol interpreted by many cultures to keep danger and evil at bay.
“Though the cuff is not too weighty, it isn’t a feeble piece of jewelry either. I wanted it to be a significant piece. I wanted it to be so that when Jill put it on, she’d feel it hugging around her wrist and she’d remember that she was not, and never would be never alone.”
Jill wore the Cuff constantly, garnering compliments from friends and strangers, all of whom expressed interest in snagging a cuff for themselves. In September, Jill asked Jenny to come to Baltimore to table her work at a fundraiser. There, they were overwhelmed with interest, and sold out of their entire inventory in only hours. It was then that the sisters realized they had stumbled upon something fabulous, something they couldn’t keep to themselves, and that night they embarked on an exciting new adventure: Lema J.
The line’s premiere cuffs are daring in color, funky is design, and all adorned with the unique and exotic texture of shagreen leather.
“Our Mom, she was a very stylish woman,” says Jenny. “She passed when we were very young, but I can still remember, she was very graceful. She had a certain poise, a simple elegance… I think that comes through in the pieces I make. Stylish and bold, but never audacious.”
Through endless love, self-empowerment, and the idea that motion and adventure are integral parts in every woman’s journey, Jenny and Jill have created something distinct from your typical Jewelry line. Each piece of Lema J jewelry is a connection to a community of like-minded women from all around the globe. The signature red dot on the backside of every piece is there to remind us that inside lies the strength and determination to overcome whatever obstacles are thrown our way; it dares us to grow a little everyday, and ultimately reassures us that love and compassion can conquer all.
“There are so many themes in Lema J,” says Jenny, “it’s about connection. It’s about transformation. It’s about perseverance. We all have struggles, big and small. But to us, it’s about appreciating and embracing it all as it comes– about finding the beauty inside of everything. That’s the only way.”
A portion of every Lema J purchase is donated to the Karma 4 Cara Foundation: http://karmaforcara.org/