For 25 years, Carol Barrett has crafted beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry incorporating culturally significant artifacts from Asia and India with the highest quality semiprecious stones.

It’s hard for her to believe it has been so many years. She remembers her first journey through China when she collected so many unique historic figurines carved into mammoth ivory, jade, wood and silver.

They were irresistible to her. She brought dozens and dozens of artifacts home from that trip. Though it was the not initial plan, she started weaving the pieces into one-of-a-king original jewelry designs with beautiful semiprecious stones.

“I love the creativity of finding a piece that’s really beautiful and full of history and repurposing it into something wearable,” Barrett said.

Repurposing and bringing history to life the way Barrett does has become popular. But when she started 25 years ago, it wasn’t quite as common. No one else was finding ways to make historic and artistic carvings come to life.

The mammoth ivory netsukes Barrett collected in Asia are particularly special.

“Most people would just display them,” she said. “You don’t find the netsuke in jewelry. But, I thought – why not wear them.”

Wearing these historic pieces showcases them and celebrates the artists who created them in a bigger, bolder way than they might have imagined.

The original pieces Barrett made for herself and friends got a lot of attention.

Everywhere she went, including high-end boutiques, she received compliments on her jewelry. Boutique buyers quickly gobbled up all of her jewelry and it wasn’t long before Saks Fifth Avenue was carrying Barrett’s work, then called Gemini.

Barrett has traveled to galleries and had exhibits of her pieces all over the country and even abroad. Today, women from all over the world are drawn to her unique, high-quality jewelry, which they typically find online.

She takes great pride in collecting unique pieces that aren’t just beautiful, but that also come with inspiring stories.

She always gets the stories about the pieces she collects. She writes up those histories so the women who wear her work can know the history as well.

“I strive to make jewelry that’s beautiful and fun that makes a statement,” Barrett said. “But if you know the history and cultural significance of a piece, it can make it even more interesting.”

Barrett is drawn to beautiful and unusual pieces when she travels the globe hunting for little treasures. While the beauty draws her in, the story is usually what makes her commit or walk away from an artifact.

“My work has definitely evolved over the years,” she said.

All of her jewelry used to be very big and chunky. Now, she is more varied. She draws inspiration from current fashion, but Barrett’s pieces are timeless and constant in their quality.

“I haven’t seen anyone else making something like this,” Barrett said. “I make one-of-a-kind statement pieces.”