Whether it’s the Rocky Mountains or an exotic beach where you married your spouse, certain places hold a sentimental significance for all of us. When she started crafting jewelry at her kitchen table in 2007, Holly Daniels Christensen recognized this heartfelt draw to memories and started incorporating sand from her hometown beaches in Cape Cod, Massachusetts into her designs. Now, her hobby has become a multi-million-dollar business known as Dune Jewelry & Co., where founder and CEO Christensen keeps her nose to the grindstone and toes in the sand.
Something for Everyone
Dune Jewelry crafts pieces with any kind of natural or living element imaginable: sand, shells, granite, flower petals, brick, volcanic glass, and gems to name a few. With so much variety, there’s room for anyone to create the “personal, experiential jewelry” for which Christensen and her team at Dune are known.
In addition to having so many elemental options with the ability to be transformed into jewelry, Dune also allows buyers to fully customize their pieces. While buyers can send in their own elements, Dune also offers a vast, worldwide supply of sands, flower, minerals, and stones for people to choose from. Then, individuals can choose any of Dune’s handmade jewelry items (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings) for showcasing the design.
Christensen notes that the creation of her vast “bank” of elements occurred naturally. After giving customers the option to send in their own supplies—which is always more than needed for a small jewelry design—Christensen found herself with a growing collection of elements from around the globe. “We have collected over 4,500 sand and earth elements over the past 10 years,” she says. “Each and every one of these elements holds memories which is what makes them so special.”
Colorado boutique Mary Jane’s in Estes Park and Steamboat Springs features Dune designs with crushed Rocky Mountain granite. Dune also offers designs for men including bracelets, keychains, and cufflinks.
A Business with a Cause
Aside from being a woman-owned business with lifetime warranties on all its products, Dune prides itself on being a cause-oriented brand. With every purchase, Dune donates proceeds to more than 29 charities and efforts around the world—most notably to various environmental and conservation organizations.
“When I use sand or earth elements in a design, I’m able to capture not only the memory from where it was gathered but also the energy from that moment. It all ties back to Mother Earth.” Above all, Dune’s ability to shape sentimentality into a gorgeous, physical piece of art is truly one-of-a-kind. “Creating personalized designs that remind people of their favorite place or moment in time is what I’m passionate about.”