Art in gems & metal

Sunday News Correspondent |
November 03. 2012 7:28PM

Debbie Noiseux is known for her work with semi-precious gems, gold and silver. This is an example of her new "chain mail" line for younger, budget- conscious shoppers.COURTESY 

MERRIMACK -- Debbie Noiseux put Halloween in the rear-view mirror Thursday morning and immediately began the drive toward Christmas.

Actually, her destination was the 26th annual Boston Christmas Festival, where her work has been on display this weekend at the Seaport World Trade Center.

Noiseux is a self-taught jeweler with about 30 years of experience incorporating precious and semi-precious stones into 14K gold and silver using whimsical shapes and colors. Each piece is a work of art, combining multiple stones to create what she considers her signature: stones that are juxtaposed to create a play of light and movement.

"I've been designing jewelry since I was 15. I knew right away that I had a passion for it," said Noiseux, 54. "I just started doing a few shows, and before I knew it, I had my own business."

The Boston Christmas Festival, which concludes today, has showcased several pieces of Noiseux's work, along with other crafts designed by talented New Hampshire artists.

Most of her jewelry costs less than $100, but she does have other, more expensive pieces, such as 14K and 22K gold earrings with blue-green opal and blue topaz, and a boulder opal from Australia interworked with iolite and chrome diopside.

Using opals, amethysts, pink tourmalines and other beautiful and colorful stones, Noiseux aims to create contemporary jewelry in her Collage Series, one of her most popular lines.

Her newest line of work is chain mail, which is affordable, colorful and modern, she said, noting that her children have also started designing their own jewelry and incorporating it into her pieces.

"I have taken the traditional chain mail, which has been around for thousands of years, and put a little twist on it. We now make a lot of patterns that are lightweight, inexpensive and fun," Noiseux said. "That's what is great about making jewelry: You can make it look super elaborate or simple and basic."

Her pieces take anywhere from one hour to about 20 hours to perfect, depending on the scope of work, she said.

The festival has provided Noiseux the opportunity to speak with visitors, discuss her work and possibly commission custom pieces. She's participated in the event several times in the past, but after taking the past three years off, she was thrilled to be returning to Boston, where she joined more than 350 exhibitors featuring an array of handmade items and gifts.

In addition to Noiseux, other artisans from New Hampshire have been participating. Hand-painted silk ties and scarves by Heather Cohen, owner of Textile Design by Heather in Derry, also is featured, along with pear and ginger jelly by Andrew Fennelly of Claremont.

Photography, wall art, bird houses, silk tunics and embellished clothing and accessories all are showcased at the festival, which continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Tickets are $12 for adults and free for children under 14.

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Kimberly Houghton may be reached at
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