Hillsboro woman makes jewelry as lasting memorial

Staff reporter

Each bead and crystal is carefully selected and meticulously attached to the precious silver strand.

This unusual jewelry represents a special purpose, provides a special use.

On the silver chains of the pendant and bracelet are small silver containers, designed to hold cremains, which are ashes when a person is cremated. The containers also can hold burial dirt, a lock of hair, crushed flowers, or whatever special remembrance the wearer wants to carry.

Amy Simmons of Hillsboro designs the unique jewelry because she knows how important it is for people to be able to remember loved ones who die and are cremated. Since there's typically no gravesite to visit, people can wear the attractive jewelry and carry remembrances with them.

A trained licensed funeral director, Simmons knows the importance of remembering deceased loved ones.

"More people are being cremated," Simmons said, "and people are looking for ways to memorialize their loved ones."

A friend taught her four years ago how to make jewelry for everyday use. Simmons has been making the mortuary jewelry for about 18 months.

The silver is imported from Bali and the crystals are made by Swarovski, providing quality everyday and special jewelry.

Custom orders also can include birth stones.

Included in her inventory is a ring with a small container that can be opened and filled.

Everyday jewelry also includes pendants, bracelets, and earrings.

Returning home to Hillsboro about 18 months ago, Simmons is an advertising executive with The Newton Kansan. Someday, when the time is right, she would like to return to her funeral director career. Right now her focus is on caring and providing for her two children — daughter Ashlyn, 14, and son Jordan, 10.

The jewelry-making business is a family affair with Ashlyn assisting with the assembly and Jordan helping with packaging.

If Simmons has all of the materials she needs for a jewelry piece, she can make it in about an hour. However, for special orders, it may take a week for completion.

She sells her items to professionals in the funeral industry, some displaying Simmons' jewelry pieces in their places of business.

The jewelry is designed for women to wear, so Simmons has included in her inventory an item for men — a key chain with a container for articles of the wearer's choice.

In the future, Simmons would like to have a web site to promote her business but there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day to get everything accomplished.

So, why does she do it?

"It is extremely important for people to memorialize and honor their loved ones," she said.

Simmons knows there are web sites that sell similar pieces but aren't of the same quality as hers.

The quality of the jewelry is important to her because she wants the wearer to be able to treasure it for many years to come.

For more information, contact Simmons at (620) 794-1808.