What A Jewel!

Neurosurgeon gets her mind off work

As the starlets rocked the stage for the VH1 Divas Las Vegas concert, Dr. M. Deborrah Hyde sat anxiously in her living room looking for one diva in particular. “Be sure you watch Cher,” her girlfriend urged. The instant Cher appeared on stage, Hyde knew why her girlfriend insisted she watch. “I screamed, ‘That’s my necklace!’ It was a piece I had sold to Linda Stokes, a local clothing designer, and now Cher was wearing it.” It was a highlight of her jewelry making hobby that has “snowballed” within the past two years she says.

Originally from Laurel, Mississippi, Hyde, 53, is a neurosurgeon in West Hills, California, who has been in private practice for 16 years. “All my life I’ve been creative,” she admits from her Granada Hills home in California. “All through high school and college I made my own clothes, and then I started doing accessories. And I was always chosen best-dressed.”

Over the last decade, frustrated with the growing challenges in healthcare — the reduction in reimbursements and the rise of malpractice insurance — designing became her therapy. “I look forward to making jewelry,” Hyde offers. “It’s one way I can relax.”

Two years ago, she was vacationing with a group of friends who were also physicians. “As we talked about how medicine had changed, many of the women suggested that I start a boutique at home.” That was all the encouragement Hyde needed. She began to focus on turning her hobby into a viable business — Deborrah Designs.

Anchored in sterling silver, her one-of-a-kind pieces are bold, colorful, and intricate, combining semiprecious and raw stones with other materials, such as Czech glass beads, hippopotamus teeth, amber, and coral — some from the U.S., others from her world travels: Egypt, Gabon, Bangkok, and Singapore among them. “I like things that make a statement. I like drama.” Hyde’s creations range from $200 to $600, some are as much as $1,200. She sells to friends, acquaintances, and at private gatherings. “All of my designs have a life and a soul, and each project stimulates, seduces, and teases me.”

For information on Deborrah Designs, contact Hyde at 818-716-7003.

Getting Started

  • DO RESEARCH: There are a number of Websites on technique and designs, including www.ganoksin.com and www .craftown.com/jewelry/jewel1.htm, which offers a free e-book.
  • READ A BOOK: The Complete Book of Jewelry Making by Carles Codina (Sterling Publishing Co., $29.95) is a 160-page how-to manual with photos and information on terms and techniques.
  • TAKE A CLASS: Some colleges and community centers offer classes in jewelry making. Check out a course curriculum at a school near you.
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