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fruit & vegetable parchment necklace

by Margaret Dorfman
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  • the story

Elegant Harvest

Drape yourself in bold colors and rich organic patterns with gorgeous necklaces handmade in California by artist Margaret Dorfman.

Handmade from fresh fruits and vegetables that are first cured, pressed, aged and then dried into a translucent parchment sheet. The sheet is then fused to a hand-formed copper disc that shines through the thin parchment producing a lovely glow. Glazed with a non-toxic finish. Hung on delicate ribbons woven of very fine brass and copper or aluminum wires. Joined to a 22kt gold-plated sterling silver clasp. 19 discs per necklace.

Choose from Beet or Mixed Fruit (includes beet, Mexican papaya, watermelon radish, pumpkin and purple potato). Mixed Fruit comes with a legend of the different fruits and vegetable used to make it.

Due to the handmade nature of these items, slight imperfections in workmanship are normal. Each is one-of-a-kind and will vary.

  • details
Item ID
Made from
dried food, copper, 22kt gold-plated sterling silver
21" L, disks are 1" dia.
  • the maker
Margaret Dorfman

Margaret Dorfman

Margaret's work is made by hand from over 40 different varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables that are cured, dried, pressed and aged in a 10-14 day process. The translucent parchments that result capture and preserve the jewel-like colors and intricate structures that are characteristic of each fruit or vegetable. She calls this Vegetable Parchment, because the texture and translucency calls to mind the vellum parchments of medieval Europe.

Margaret realized at an early age that the best materials like acorns, bark, moss and feathers weren't found in stores. She still believes that the best materials are found in unexpected places, such as Chinatown for lotus root and bok choy, small Mexican mercados for chili peppers and papaya, Japanese markets and Korean groceries for green necked daikon. Though she now uses a produce supplier, she still visits these places with an eye out for the novel.

Everything is cut by hand with an old-fashioned mandolin slicer and a wickedly sharp assortment of knives. Her studio follows sustainable practices, using reclaimed water and recyclable packaging, and no toxic products are used. Leftovers are composted, recycled or donated to the local zoo.

Margaret earned degrees in Linguistics and Anthropology from U.C. Davis. She then went on to gain fluency in American Sign Language, and worked for many years as a sign language interpreter. For the last 13 years she has done this work full-time at her studio in Northern California, where she lives with her husband and son.

"It is deeply satisfying to work with these fruit and vegetables," says Margaret. "There seems to be alchemy involved as they transform from the familiar and commonplace and become objects of unexpected beauty. But I know it is not magic--and I am not really creating something new. I am only uncovering what was always there to see."

Visit our blog for a Studio Tour!


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