Sarah Tams’ effervescent personality echoes the fun-loving turquoise and silver jewelry for which she is known. It’s no surprise that her own bright sense of style and individuality shows up in each piece she creates, whether it’s for herself or a custom design for a client.
The eye-catching piece she wears on the middle finger of her right hand mimics the flow of water over Snake River stones through the use of recycled metal and beautifully imperfect turquoise stones. The rounded balls of metal on the piece, used throughout Tams’ collection, are recycled silver scraps she loves incorporating to reduce waste. The metal has a quality of fluidity to it, a nod to Tams’ mastery of the medium.
“The metal has its way, but you have a hammer and a torch… you’re both winning,” she says with a smile.
Tams’ ties to Jackson Hole run deep. Her grandparents met while working at the Bar BC Dude Ranch back in 1937. She split her time between Nashville, Tennessee, and Jackson Hole for 11 years before making the valley her permanent home in 2015.
“I wouldn’t have the jewelry career I do without the influence of this artistically-driven town,” she says. “The surroundings of our beautiful valley are clearly inspirational, but equally, so is our community as a whole.”
Tams studied fine arts in school, but it was hard for her to sell her paintings because she didn’t want to part with them. But when she took a three-day silversmithing course at the Art Association of Jackson Hole in 2007, she fell in love with the medium.
“I honestly don’t know who I would be without my jewelry,” she says, emotion welling up in her throat. “It has made me who I am.”
She has been making jewelry for 11 years, and her dedication to doing what she loves has given her almost more success than she can keep up with. Her work has sold across Canada, London, Australia, and Mexico.
An astute businesswoman, Tams has accrued a cult following on Instagram, where she posts one-of-a-kind pieces that feature a marriage of metal and stones like bright turquoise, crazy lace agate, and labradorite. Her jewelry is sold at art shows, online, and at local shops like Jackson Bootlegger and Made.
Tams stresses gratitude towards the community that helped her grow into the artist she is today.
“As you keep creating, you become more confident in who you are,” she says. “You find your own style and path. As long as you stay true to your creativity, your design, and your ideas… there is room for all of us. The artists in Jackson come together and lift each other up.”