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It's the thought that counts, right?



Your partner probably won’t despise you for heading over to a typical jewelry store and dishing out some serious cash on a diamond-studded necklace you hope they’ll like.

But if it’s the thought that counts, why are you still picking out a necklace that thousands of other people will be getting for the same darn day? Shame.

MORE THAN DESIGN :  Lisa Leonard recently released a new line of jewelry, introducing gold into what’s primarily been silver and pewter. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • MORE THAN DESIGN : Lisa Leonard recently released a new line of jewelry, introducing gold into what’s primarily been silver and pewter.

At Lisa Leonard Designs, every piece of jewelry tells a story and is more than just a necklace or a bracelet. In fact, with such alluring designs, you’d never suspect the story behind some of her pieces, like the “Brave Love” necklace.

“My son was going in for open-heart surgery, which is one of the most intensive things I’ve ever experienced. The piece was created so I could have his name, my other son’s name, and my husband’s name near my heart as we were going through that,” Leonard said. “And I think every day, being a mom and being in a relationship, loving takes bravery and that’s what inspired that piece.”

And you thought your “Eternity” necklace meant something special.

The necklace features a heart centered on a personalized message or names engraved on a pewter or sterling silver disc. Like every piece of jewelry, for Leonard, “Brave Love” is more than just a necklace.

Lisa Leonard Designs has a new line of unique, quality pieces just in time for Valentine’s Day.

What separates Leonard’s work from most jewelry is that each piece is hand-crafted, processed, and shipped individually from inside Leonard’s workshop. Her staff maintains a cheerful environment as they coordinate to ensure that every piece is crafted to their own liking and satisfaction.

Leonard moved to SLO from Orange County eight years ago and has grown her family-run business to sell her jewelry to around 75 stores nationwide.

She’s very excited about her new line, particularly because she’s introduced gold into her designs, which have been sterling and pewter for years. Many of her designs allow people seeking to give a more personalized gift the chance to have a name, word, or short message engraved on them.

Each unique piece reflects the inspiration Leonard receives from her family and from the world around her.

“I love to take in beautiful things, whether it’s the ocean, the sky, nature, or art, and just let it all swirl around in my mind,” she said. “Sometimes it feels that the clay actually works itself into what it wants to be.” In other words, don’t expect the cookie-cutter designs you see in most department stores.

An item new to the collection is her “Gold Connected” bracelet, which features two interlocking hearts connected to a chain of smaller, circular links, all of which can be made out of 14-karat gold or silver at your request. Its adjustable end piece allows the wearer to decide how tight to make it. It starts at $35 for silver ($56 for gold).

But you don’t have to get something with hearts just because it’s Valentine’s Day. In fact, Leonard’s favorite new piece is her “Gold Bunting” necklace, which features a row of triangles as opposed to curvy hearts and circles. “The way that it lays across the neck is really fun and pretty,” she said. “And it’s a little edgy because of the triangles, but it’s really sweet too.”

The bunting is made of fine pewter and dipped in 14-karat gold and connected to an 18-inch gold-filled link chain, making it a fun piece for “celebrating the beauty of the everyday.”

Whatever you’re looking for this Valentine’s Day, Lisa Leonard Designs is sure to have something that will set this year’s gift apart. Visit to see more designs, and be sure to take advantage of 20 percent off any handmade item until Feb. 14 by entering the code “newtimes20.”

Fast facts

Poppy Soap Company in San Luis Obispo makes organic, nurturing face and body soaps for all skin types. For every bar of soap purchased, they’ll donate another bar to the local women’s shelter. According to their website, “We may not be able to single handedly end intimate partner violence, but this simple gift of beautiful handcrafted organic soap offers victims comfort, encouragement, and renewal.” Visit and browse through all kinds of different scented soaps that will have you falling in love with your shower all over again.

Intern Spencer Vaishville compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your nonprofit and business news to

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