Sisters ‘dare to be different’ in jewelry, art design

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By Alexandra McClain, Contributing Writer

Crystal Rodriguez began a freelance art business with her older sister, Tiffany, two years ago. Since then, their business has grown into something more than expected.

As part of their business, Crystal Rodriguez, a UNF elementary education senior, and her sister create paintings and handmade jewelry. They also do face and body painting.

Crystal and Tiffany said they use art as an expression of their personalities.

Their jewelry line, My Sister’s Treasures, is full of statement pieces. It includes crystal-studded heart earrings and chunky heart necklaces. Crystal describes it as “couture bling.”

Earrings made from Scrabble pieces and heart necklaces made from miniature Legos are an example of how they include pieces of themselves in their work.

“In our jewelry, everything is big and stands out,” Crystal said. “It’s full of bling and incorporates our favorite vintage and retro themes like Barbie, Kawaii and Hello Kitty.”

Tiffany said the pair are jewelry fanatics.

Sydney Lanier, a UNF elementary education senior, has bought some of the sisters’ jewelry.

“I loved that their products were so unique,” Lanier said. “They are bright and colorful, and you can absolutely not get anything else like their stuff.”

Lanier also said the sisters’ jewelry has helped get her excited about accessorizing again. Their stuff is of high quality for a great price, she said. She has bought several pairs of earrings from the Rodriguez sisters and recommends their jewelry for other college students.

“The styles and colors of their products are just what some college girls are looking for. Their jewelry is eye catching and not mass produced, so you won’t ever be wearing a piece and see someone else with the same thing on,” she said.

Lanier said what she loved most about shopping with the sisters is how friendly and personable they are to their customers.

“Not only is Crystal one of the nicest and friendliest people I know, she is also an engaging sales woman. She doesn’t pressure people into buying. She simply greets them with a smile and is more than willing to engage potential clients in conversation. And her sister was the same way,” she said.

The sisters pride themselves on using their artwork to express their unique personalities.

“In everything we do, we embrace individuality,” Tiffany said.

This seems to be the driving force of the Rodriguezes’ freelance business. The sisters follow the motto “dare to be different,” which is a saying their grandmother used before she died in 2007. The sisters take this to heart when creating their artwork.

“Although our grandmother isn’t with us anymore, from the time we were little girls coloring outside with her while she was in her garden, she always would tell us, ‘Dare to be different,’ and I think we live out her legacy by taking a bold step into our dreams, standing out from other artists, yet sticking together as sisters,” Crystal said.

The sisters said they would like to have a storefront for their jewelry line and be internationally known for their style of face and body painting. The sisters have also been working on a look-book that includes a collection of their face and body painting designs.

The Rodriguezes said they enjoy seeing others wear their products, which seems to fuel their creative energy.

“We constantly challenge ourselves to think of new creations and make new designs,” Crystal said.

Email Alexandra McClain at [email protected]

COLLECT THE SISTERS’ TREASURES:
Crystal and Tiffany Rodriguez sell their artwork and jewelry at local venues, such as World of Nations, the Jacksonville Fair and the Riverside Arts Market on Saturdays.The average price for the sisters’ work ranges from $7 for something as simple as a zebra stripped pair of earrings to $20 for a large Hello Kitty pendant, studded with colorful crystals.

Their paintings are usually sold for $100 and up. Face and body painting is usually $5 to $50, depending on what part of the body the customer wants painted.