Pittsburgh Holiday Market Spotlight: Val Talbert of Maverick Objects | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh Holiday Market Spotlight: Val Talbert of Maverick Objects

click to enlarge Pittsburgh Holiday Market Spotlight: Val Talbert of Maverick Objects
Maverick Objects
Stud earrings from Maverick Objects.
Val Talbert took her first metalsmithing class at age 13 and started making jewelry from the stones and minerals she found during her mining and caving trips. The hobby turned into Maverick Objects, a local jewelry company launched by Talbert in January 2019. Talbert, a Bucks County native who now lives in the South Hills, says Maverick Objects was created to showcase raw, natural, sustainably-sourced minerals, which she sells online and at places like Artsmiths of Pittsburgh, Inner Rutz, Small Mall, and love, Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh City Paper spoke with Talbert ahead of her appearance at the I Made It! for the Holidays Last Minute Market on Sat., Dec. 14 at The Block Northway.

Where does the name Maverick Objects come from?
The name comes from the idea behind Maverick Objects. Maverick means an unorthodox or independent-minded person. I create jewelry for creative-minded people looking for something that expresses their individuality and personal style that has an unorthodox design that is different from the masses while also holding a story and meaning. My hope is to create designs for those looking for minimalist jewelry with a unique and creative aesthetic.

How do you find your minerals and crystals? Does it require a lot of travel?
My minerals come from all over — different states and countries. We go to various public mines that are known to produce a lot of veins and pockets. It does require a lot of travel because unfortunately, Pennsylvania does not produce high-quality stones. The closest place to Pittsburgh we have mined is the Herkimer Diamond Mines which are located around Herkimer, N.Y.
click to enlarge Pittsburgh Holiday Market Spotlight: Val Talbert of Maverick Objects (2)
Maverick Objects
Val Talbert of Maverick Objects.
I read that you mine, clean, and cut your stones. Could you explain that process a little bit?
Mining is a day-long process looking for crystal pockets and veins. Some days are better than others. Once the day is over we take what we found back and do a preliminary wash to get some of the dirt off before taking it home. Once back in the studio, all stones get heavily washed and scrubbed. This is usually is a week-long process.

Once this is complete, I then have a better idea of what I have to work with. I then start the process of breaking the crystals down into manageable sizes using chisels and my lapidary saws. We use three different lapidary saws — 10”, 6” and 4” — which helps with precision when cutting. We also have a CabKing in our studio. This is used to help polish off edges of stones so they aren’t sharp when setting them in my jewelry designs. The trick is polishing it just enough for a smooth edge but also keeping the raw and rough look of the stone. I usually spend a full day of just cutting since it's a lot of work setting up the machines and cleaning up afterward. I then sort the stones in labeled bins for when I am ready to use them for making jewelry.

Besides the stones, where do you get your other materials?
My metals are all recycled metals and I purchase them online from wholesalers who only deal with recycled metals. We prefer recycled metals in order to help reduce the waste in the jewelry industry. A lot of our equipment and machinery comes from Rio Grande, a jewelry supply company in New Mexico. If I am in a time crunch I will use my Amazon Prime to send me new blades and fuel from my torches since they offer next day delivery or two-day delivery.

What are your most popular items?
My most popular items are my raw stone studs, orbit earrings, and my whisper necklaces. My studs come in a variety of stone and color options so there is pretty much a stud that will fit anyone's style. They are also the perfect size which makes them great everyday earrings. They come in burnt copper, 14k gold, and rhodium.

My orbit earrings are a unique item that actually don’t feature any stones. They are made using recycled sterling silver that has been hammered, textured, and flattened into a hoop. They are then set on fire to create a unique multi-colored look.

My whisper necklaces feature some of the highest quality tourmaline that we dug in Brazil. I love tourmaline because it comes in almost every color and shade and these necklaces showcase that. It's a two-inch pendant that is filled with raw tourmaline. This necklace comes in burnt copper, 14k gold, and rhodium.

I Made It! for the Holidays Last Minute Market at The Block Northway. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., Dec. 14. Free. imadeitmarket.com

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