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WomanOf the Month 4-08: Elizabeth Lindsay, Jewelry Designer & Creator of Token Tags
by Susan Klann

Sometimes just a phrase or word sums up a personapostrophes essence or a time, place, or experience shared.

When jewelry designer Elizabeth Lindsay’s cat died, she was on deadline at work in her studio and wondered what she could do to commemorate her love for her long-time animal friend. So she stamped her cat’s name, Justice, on a sterling silver tag, and hung it around her neck. That was the first Token Tag.

Today, Lindsay is busy handstamping Token Tags to sell in her boutique, Elizabeth Lindsay Creations, in Denver’s Cherry Creek shopping district, and online at www.elizabethlindsay.com . She calls them “affirmations, dreams, mementos and keepsakes.apostrophe They seem to have struck a nerve, or a need—you can select from prestamped tags with sayings such as “Happy Trailsapostrophe, “Takenapostrophe, Shoenistaapostrophe, or “Namasteapostrophe, or order one stamped with the special word or phrase you want. The sterling silver chains they hang from look great adorned with more than one tag, and Lindsay warns that the tags are addictive.

Lindsay, who grew up in the bohemian world of Greenwich Village, New York, and was an award-winning student in jewelry design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, created architecturally inspired pieces in gold and silver for a number of years for such stores as Neiman Marcus. At one point more than 65 stores were carrying her designs nationwide and eight people were working for her. “But I wasn’t getting to meet the people who were wearing my jewelry, I just did trade shows and met buyers,apostrophe she says. “I felt the pressure increasing to come out with new, new, new all the time, as if quantity was becoming more important than the quality and integrity of the designs. I didn’t feel like that was the direction I wanted to go.apostrophe

Around the same time, Lindsay’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and Lindsay was going through a divorce. She wanted to be closer to her mother, who was living in Hawaii, so she moved to Colorado, which she remembered fondly from vacations with her parents and with friends as a teenager. When she arrived in1999, she knew no-one and had to “reinvent herselfapostrophe. She worked first from a location in downtown and then opened the boutique in Cherry Creek, which also carries an inspired selection of merchandise from other artists and designers from around the world and nationally. A highlight are examples of her one-of-a kind engagement rings.

Lindsay stamped out that first Token Tag in late 2007 and found that people who saw it wanted one too. “They say an overnight success takes 15 years, and I guess maybe these little tags are it!apostrophe laughs Lindsay. “I had this huge piece of sterling silver sheet metal, that I had had for years, and I thought to myself, OK, and I started stamping, stamping, stamping, with no clue if people would buy the tags. But people loved them. I did ‘Vaya Con Dios,’ which was my mom’s favorite expression, and ‘Surrender,’ because I’m not very good at that, I’m a control freak. I made ‘Happy Trails’ for my dad, because he was going on a road trip. I made ‘Secret Keeper,’ but I can’t wear that, because I’m not good at it. ‘Cutie Patootie,’ ‘Snookems,’ –they are so personal. I want the statement to be the piece. I like that they are just completely what they say, not pretentious.apostrophe

Lindsay’s mother, Mary Cleves, was diagnosed with breast cancer and she underwent treatment for a number of years for the disease before her recent death. She was brave and generous, expressing her pride in her daughter’s accomplishments and the gratitude she felt for the time she had with her family. Lindsay has honored her mother’s life, as well as the lives of two of her aunts who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, one who has died and one who is a survivor, through her work. Lindsay designed the “Mary Clevesapostrophe Pin and Pendant for the Breast Cancer Fund in when her mother was diagnosed and donated 100% of the profits to the fund, and was asked by the Susan G. Koman for the Cure to design the 10-Year Commemorative Pin for the City of Denver.

Lindsay figured she would never get married again, and certainly never meet a man in her store, because generally the male shoppers are shopping for a gift for their significant other. So she joined eHarmony.com. And lo and behold…she’s been married for a year and a half to the man she considers her best friend, Number 52 in the list of people she had contact with (she did not go out on dates with 52 individuals). “I knew right away when I saw him,apostrophe she says. “He’s been such a support for me, especially since losing my mom. The world works in a good way, I really feel like it was planned for me.apostrophe

For those who can’t swing by the boutique at 3033 E. Third Avenue in the Cherry Creek Shopping District in Denver, the website is the easiest route to see examples of Token Tags and order some up. Go to www.elizabethlindsay.com.