Jill Manzara Founder / Art Director
The JILZARAH® brand was inspired and conceptualized by Jill Manzara, one of the
original founders and pioneers who brought handmade clay beaded jewelry to market.
“I’ve always been an optimist, looking for the best in people and situations. But when life handed me a few hard knocks, optimism found me in the shape of little round clay beads. Recently divorced and in financial peril I found myself alone and out in the world with two children to provide for. It was during these challenging years that I discovered an artisan technique called caning, used to create intricately designed clay beads. I became obsessed with the craft and was determined to apply my own creativity in new and unique ways. I wanted to share these amazing vessels of art with the world. Every bead has meaning to me. You see, these beads can never be replicated exactly the same. Even if they have the same pattern, no two beads are exactly alike. They are a result of a unique moment that is preserved and passed along, from the thoughts that inspired the design, to the hands that built the cane and rolled the beads, to the small gift shop owner who discovered them and displayed them in their store, to the person who received them as a gift. Each bead reminds me of every individual life, how we all have a story that is unique only to us. It’s this parallel that fuels my drive to design and create JILZARAH each and every day."
How JILZARAH® Clay Is Made
JILZARAH is a design company that applies original artwork and patterns to our core medium, polymer clay. First we begin with in house designs. We then dye clay from all of the colors within the pattern. We use the dyed clay to replicated our patterns into large clay canes through a layering technique called “Millefiori”. Our canes begin large in scale and must be slowly rolled down to the size of our bead or bezel. Clay is sliced from the cane and thin pieces are wrapped around an existing clay base. Beads and inlays are hand rolled, skewered, and baked in low-temperature ovens. Once the clay is cool, the pieces are washed, buffed, and assembled into various JILZARAH jewelry for you to enjoy.