Turning Grief Into Gold

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February 6, 2024

Words by: Brandy Belitsky

The inspirational journey of Evelyn & Esme

2020 was a strange year for many, but for some it was bittersweet. Sara Palamarek was mourning the loss of her paternal grandmother, Evelyn, a woman known for her fashion sense, who wore high heels well into her nineties. When she passed, a heap of clothing and jewelry was left behind. 

While sorting through some of her grandmother’s belongings, Palamerek happened upon a piece of costume jewelry. It was a broken necklace adorned with beautiful crystals. Damaged or not, it was pretty, but not something she or anyone else in her family would ever wear. This got Palamarek’s wheels spinning. She took the necklace home, disassembled it, found some gold-filled beads, and got to work. The result was a bracelet that she still wears to this day and one that serves as a reminder of her grandmother. It was the piece that inspired something she never knew she had—a passion that unfolded into her jewelry business, Evelyn & Esme.

Evelyn & Esme is named for both of Palamarek’s grandmothers. Her maternal grandmother, Esme, was known for her adventurous spirit. She emigrated to Canada from England in 1955 with three of her close friends. She loved the sea and the outdoors, made amazing cookies and gave great hugs. Palamarek curated her jewelry collections to encapsulate each of her grandmothers’ personalities. 

The collection contains necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and anklets. Most items feature ethically sourced gold-filled beads paired with sparkling gemstones which cement Evelyn & Esme’s signature look. Some of the pieces are available in gold or sterling silver, and every creation is accompanied by a small poem written by Palamarek. “My poetry is inspired by feelings, experiences and events in my life,” she says, with further inspiration coming from loved ones and their journeys. “I’ve always loved reading poetry. Adding it to my jewelry line felt like a good fit.” 

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Evelyn & Esme jewelry is available online, through local markets and at the Hideout Distro on 124 Street, but Palamerek, currently a full-time registered nurse who teaches at the U of A, has hopes for a brick-and-mortar store in the future. 

www.evelynandesme.ca

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