Precious metals: From Missouri to Destin, jewelry artists bring ‘wearable art’

Jordan Swanson
The Reifs enjoy making earrings and rings, and will have many of them, as well as other jewelry pieces like necklaces, on sale at the festival. The couple specializes in making jewelry that some people have described as “contemporary western.”

Experienced silversmiths, David and Ann Reif specialize in art of the wearable kind.

“My husband cuts most of our stones,” Ann said. “Some of our pieces are done combining our stones with metal work. I do a technique called off-loom bead weaving, so we combine our skills of metal work and stone with the bead weaving technique to create personal adornment.”

The Reifs, who are from Lake Ozark, Mo., are one of more than 100 juried artists from around the United States who will compete in the 17th annual Destin Festival of the Arts on Oct. 27 and 28.

The couple has been in the arts, professionally, since 1981. They started working with metal jewelry in 1999. They spent many years working in clay before transitioning to metals full time.

“We work primarily with silver, but we do use other metals at times, including copper and bronze, and even brass once in a while, and occasionally gold.”

The jewelry, which ranges in price from $25 to $1,000, is described by some as “contemporary western” and incorporates many different shapes.

“We make a lots of rings,” Ann said. “We love turquoise, so we always have a great selection of turquoise rings.”

For the Destin festival, they will also bring a large supply of decorative jewels for the ears.

“Earrings tend to be sculptural pieces for us,” said David, who is also a painter. “It’s not unusual for professional artists to work in a number of different mediums.”

The couple began their art careers working in clay. They started delving into ceramic jewelry first, taking a liking to it, and worked their way into the world of metal jewelry.

“When you go from one medium to another, it’s not for the faint hearted,” David said.

The two own their business called Renegade Heart. They have a 1,000-foot studio in Missouri with a showroom next door.

When they aren’t making jewelry, they are attending art shows across the country. Altogether, David estimates they are on the road six months out of the year, with the other six months spent working in the studio.

Although they sell most of their jewelry creations at art shows, they do sell some on their website at

To learn more about the festival, visit

“It has to be one of the most beautiful settings for a show that we do,” said Ann.

FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation will present the 17th Annual Destin Festival of the Arts from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 27 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 28 at Henderson Beach State Park. This signature event features more than 100 artists from around the United States who will exhibit in more than 18 different mediums competing for more than $9,000 in cash prizes. Other amenities are live musical entertainment, a bistro-style food court, Kid’s ArtStop and festival merchandise. A Collaborative Art Exhibit showcases more than 40 community artists representing students and adults. Admission is $3/adult and kids under 12 are free. Call 650-2226.