Wearing Stuart Nye and Drinking from Mason Jars – It’s a Southern “Thang”


Stuart Nye and Mason Jars

Stuart Nye Jewelry & Mason Jars?

Now if you’re not from around here (any of the Southern states) then you might be a bit confused by the title of this piece.

But if you are from the South, especially if you are a Southern woman, then you have probably seen or wore a piece of Stuart Nye jewelry and have drunk an adult beverage or two from a Ball Mason Jar.

The idea for this article came up when a woman in the gallery mentioned that wearing Stuart Nye was a Southern “thang”. And of course we started joking around and naturally mentioned that drinking from Mason jars was also a common habit here in the South.

The History of Stuart Nye Jewelry

You know you are loved and respected if someone gives you a piece of Stuart Nye. Stuart Nye jewelry has been well-known for 83 years for its quality workmanship and affordable prices.

In the depths of the Depression in 1933, right here in Asheville, an unemployed worker named Stuart Nye bought a few bits of silver and hammered out some simple bangle bracelets, using second-hand tools he had found.

The bracelets sold.

And Nye using a natural talent for color and design began to master his craft and turn his silver jewelry into what would become a trademarked style of natural flowers and leaves.

All of Stuart Nye’s original work (and still their most popular jewelry) was done in sterling silver, over time other metals have been added.

Copper was added to due to a precious metal shortage during World War II and brass was during used the silver price boom in the winter of 1979-80 and in 2009.

And when it comes to their designs, these master craftsmen have also gone beyond the original Dogwood blossoms made famous by Stuart Nye to their unique and popular Calla Lily designs to their contemporary twists and hoop ear rings.

This is why over four generations of “dinstive” women, have wore and loved Stuart Nye jewelry.

Drinking from Mason Jars – Why is it Such a Southern Tradition?

Just over an hundred years ago, in 1913 the Ball Brothers developed a new type of canning jar that they described as the “Perfect Mason”.

Now while the Ball Brothers were from Indiana, their revolutionary jar designs changed how Southern home cooks canned and preserved their foods forever.

Stuart Nye Jewelry and Mason Jars

Drinking from Mason jars is a natural thing for us. Southerners never call them Ball jars by the way.

When a woman is canning pounds and pounds of fruits and vegetables over boiling hot water and steam, it is not uncommon for her to want to take a break from the hard work.

So she would get off her feet and fill up a clean quart Mason jar with sweet tea or lemonade or “purple” Kool-Aid (yes, we know it’s called Grape, but we don’t care).

And with any canning project, you always ended up with extra jars so they would naturally become the spare, everyday “drink” glasses for the family to use.

This was especially when you run out the “good glasses” during the holidays for your guests. Plus Mason jars were the perfect containers to use for homemade wines and moonshine.

So you know you’re loved and accepted as family if folks serve you your sweet tea in a Mason jar!

We invite you come by Mountain Made, a downtown Asheville art gallery and browse our extensive collection of Stuart Nye jewelry. Sorry but you have to find Mason jars on your own!

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