01 Dec '16, 12am
Torchbearers: Hand-Forged Jewelry That Honors Gulf Coast Oystermen
Southern grit meets Southern grace. That's how New Orleans–based designer Ashley Lyons describes "Torchbearers," a line of handcrafted jewelry that features part of the tongs that fishermen use to harvest oysters from the bottom of the seabed. Each "tooth" was forged by Rodney Richards, a blacksmith from Apalachicola, a Floridian fishing village that produces about 90 percent of the oysters consumed in the Sunshine State. But both Richards's trade, which he learned from his father, and the oyster industry it supports, are in jeopardy, Lyons said. "Apalachicola’s oyster industry has all but collapsed over the last several years—brought to its knees by drought, the 2010 oil spill and a tri-state water war that is now before the Supreme Court," she wrote on Kickstarter , where she's campaigning to raise $25,000 to bring the line to market.