America Supports You: Indiana Jeweler Creates Sterling Tribute
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 27, 2005 An Indiana jeweler has put a new twist on the well-worn bracelets supporting various causes.
Indiana jeweler Jan Marten designed a sterling silver bracelet in support of the troops. All proceeds beyond the cost to make the bracelet are being donated to the Indiana National Guard Relief Fund. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
Jan Marten owns J.S. Marten Jewelers in Carmel, Ind., a store that boasts a patriotic spirit.
She has put her creative talents to work and designed a sterling silver bracelet made up of small oval pieces that spell out "Support Our Troops." The bracelet was designed to be durable, easy for jewelers to assemble and, most importantly, comfortable to wear. It can also incorporate an individual's name to truly honor that servicemember, she said.
Since she began selling them on Dec. 10, she has sold about 50 of the bracelets.
A basic bracelet costs $150, and extra links or personalization add to the cost. All proceeds above Marten's cost to produce the bracelets -- 50 to 55 percent of the retail cost -- are being donated to the Indiana National Guard Relief Fund.
The amount of the donation varies depending on whether the buyer adds extras to the bracelet.
Marten said she had wanted to donate money all along but was having a hard time finding an organization that could put all of the donated funds toward support of the troops and their families. That's when she turned to an old friend who was familiar with the military after being an Air Force wife and mother for many years.
Ann Callaghan, a spokeswoman for the Indiana National Guard, offered to lend Marten a hand finding a solution to her dilemma.
"When I talked to the Indiana National Guard they told me about the relief fund," Callaghan said. "That sounded like an outstanding source for her to donate ... the proceeds from the bracelets."
The ladies said they chose that organization because 100 percent of the donation would go to support the troops and their families.
A mother of three, Marten started selling jewelry out of her house when her children were small -- "just to give me something to do," she said. Her children are all in college now, and the once-small jewelry business has grown to employ 25.
Marten's desire to show her support for the troops stemmed from having a godson serving his second tour in Iraq with the Marines. Though her own 20-year-old son is not in the military, he is the same age as many young people serving overseas.
"I was just thinking about how if my son was over there fighting that I would not want it to be about politics. I would want it to be (that) everyone was supported," she said. "I think America needs to be united. And I think that those men and women over there really didn't get to decide, ... but they understand that their job is to protect the United States.
"We need to stand behind that decision as a country and support the people that are over there and their families," she added.
Marten is also working to present the family of each Indiana National Guardsman killed in the war on terror with a bracelet. Because of the considerable cost, Marten said, she is looking for a company to sponsor the effort.