What's an Ornamental Thing?

Posted by tara kirkland on

For nearly as long as there has been a Custard Boutique, we’ve been carrying Ornamental Things Jewelry. Over the 14 years that we’ve been proudly sharing this line with you, we’ve gotten to see it grow, change, and evolve. We’ve also developed a friendship with the woman behind so many of our favorite pieces- Natalie Tischler!

Always handmade in Austin, TX, Ornamental Things is a stellar example of the kind of brands we love to share with you via the shop. Since we’re pretty sure you all love this line as much as we do, we’re bringing you even more to love about OT by sharing more of their story, and more about the women with the vision, Natalie. Of course we're going to highlight some of our personal favorites as well. 

Read on:

Meet The Maker 

Ornamental Things was founded in Austin, Texas in 2004 by Natalie Tischler. The designer is a self proclaimed jeweler for heroines and daydreamers. Always striving to create timeless pieces with an authentic feel, she is inspired by bohemian ideas, bold women, and living in the moment. Her favorite OT pieces to wear currently are the Evil Eye Hammered Medallion Necklace for day to day and the Moon Phase Cascade Necklace for special occasions.

Evil Eye Necklace

Cascading Moon Phase Necklace

Although she creates jewelry that brings a little luxury to all of us, she’ll forgo lots of luxuries in life to travel! Exploration is everything for her. A true craftswoman and authentic entrepreneur Natalie says she doesn’t have any hobbies- “I love to work and find most facets of running my business to be fun, including marketing and accounting. Even when I am relaxing, there's usually work going on somewhere in my brain. I'm lucky to get to do something I am excited about.” Just a genuinely all around great lady, our favorite little tidbit about this maker is that she has resting nice face. You read that right, resting nice face. “I can't help it but I am pretty much always smiling, even when I'm not in a great mood. It's annoying.”


The Beginning 

While Ornamental Things the company wasn’t officially founded until 2004, Natalie started making jewelry as a hobby in the early 90’s. She studied Art History at the University of Texas and found herself inspired by her studies, and literally everything around her! The architecture, machinery, vintage jewelry, you name it, it got her wheels turning!  


(photo by Katie Burke)

(Shown here: Telescope Necklace, Concave Gold Ring, Line Ring, Cigar Band Ring, Harmonica Necklace)

After starting with an idea of what she wants to create from her inspiration, she seeks out the pieces to make it. If she can’t find the right parts, they get drawn up and then made using fun technological techniques like CAD, 3D printing, and casting. The creation of each piece is truly an adventure, and we think that sentiment really comes through. It’s been so fun getting to watch her explorations of materials and styles evolve over the years.  We love that each piece is part of a time period in her style and evolution, as much as it is for us as well. 


The Collection

Originally starting with only about 20 styles in 2004, the Ornamental Things collection has grown to now include over 200 pieces!

Out of the 236 options, there are two styles that we had to know more about- the tiny harmonicas and the little knife necklaces-so we asked Natalie what inspired these. “I like to make fun jewelry that sparks a conversation, that you can play with, that has some kind of function, jewelry that's a little weird and out of the ordinary because I know I'm in good company with other jewelry lovers who don't want what everybody else is wearing.”  


Care for your Ornamental Things

If your jewelry is plated, keep it dry, or at least understand that if you wear it to swim, exercise, or shower, that plating is going to wear away eventually. When something is plated, it simply means that one type of metal is bonded or layered over another type of metal. Plated jewelry is an affordable alternative to something that's solid gold. Ornamental Things plates their gold and antique gold jewelry with a nice heavy layer of gold so, if you keep it dry, it's going to stay looking good for a long time. Not sure what your Ornamental Things piece is made of? Just reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help! 


Let's talk about metals. 

Since we offer a wide variety of Natalie’s work that includes a range of materials, here’s everything you need to know about the materials used....

14kt Gold Filled: This is a high quality gold plating. A thick layer of 14kt gold is bonded to the metal below. It will keep its gold look for a very long time, especially if it's kept dry. Gold Filled plating can be done over sterling silver or brass. 

Vermeil: Another high quality gold plating. A thick layer of 14kt, 18kt or 24kt gold over sterling silver.

14kt Gold Plated: 7-10 mils of shiny 14kt gold plating over brass. 

24kt Gold plated: 7-10 mils of 24kt gold plating over brass. It is then oxidized to darken the color and give it an  antique brass look.

Aged Brass: No plating involved. This is raw brass that has been oxidized to darken it. It is then polished up and lightly coated to help it hold its antiqued color.

Sterling Silver: No plating involved. This is the same metal all the way through. Sterling silver is an alloy of silver and copper. It contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. That is why sterling silver is stamped .925.

Silver plated: A thin layer of silver covering a base layer commonly made of copper, or brass, or white metal or nickel.

A word about plating:

We get asked the most questions about plated jewelry, so we want to give you all the information possible about it... 

When something is plated, it is simply a layer of one metal over another metal. Plating will wear away over time. The wearing away process is slower if the piece is kept dry and not polished too aggressively but it will happen nevertheless as it comes into contact with our skin, oils, sweat and clothing. That's why plated pieces are much more affordable than buying something that is a solid precious metal like gold or sterling silver. All of our Ornamental Things pieces also come with a guarantee from Natalie, so if you have an issue with your plating, or a broken chain, clasp or ear wire you can be sure that Ornamental Things will make things right!



With so many options to fit so many styles and looks you’re sure to find an Ornamental Things treasure that speaks to you!  Not sure where to begin? We’re happy to help you find something that best suits your vibes, or pick from a few of our tried and true favorites… 


Plaid Delta Earrings

Radiant Sun Earrings

Heavy Gold Curb Chain

Lightning Bolt Locket

Looking forward to shopping and styling with you all soon! 

-Katherine, Savannah, GA

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