Links of Love: An Ohio Jeweler and His 33-Foot-Long Necklace for Charity

Some may be put off by Peter D’Enbeau’s gruff exterior—he’s vocalized a few unpopular opinions on online professional jewelry-making forums—but his latest move may endear him to others yet. The owner of Soulmates Jewelry in Cincinnati headed up the A Hundred for One project, in which 194 different jewelry links were made by 194 different artists. All proceeds (coming from an auction that has yet to be scheduled) for the roughly 5-pound, 33-foot-long piece made by artists from seven countries are earmarked for charity. (If you’re interested in giving D’Enbeau a forum for the fund-raiser, contact him at 513-683-5333 or email him at pedrothejeweler@gmail.com.)

The idea developed in the fall of 2013 when D’Enbeau proposed to his fellow jewelers on the Metalsmiths Coffee House closed group on Facebook that they craft a holiday gift for the group’s administrator. He suggested they make a bracelet, but after 72 people signed up to contribute a link, D’Enbeau realized that the project was turning into a piece of art much that was much more than just a present. As the idea grew in scope, he thought he might collect 100 in all—thus the name—but those figures swelled even higher.

“I thought that maybe 10 people would sign up,” he says. After links kept pouring in, though, D’Enbeau’s wife suggested they find a place to auction off the completed piece and donate the proceeds to the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+), which “helps professional craft artists when they suffer career-threatening emergencies,” according to the agency’s website.

While little-known contributors made most pieces, a few higher-profile folks, such as well-respected platinum artist Jurgen Maerz, also sent in links, in addition to instructor Michael David Sturlin from the Revere Academy in San Francisco. Silver, brass, copper, and even gold donations came from all over the world—including the Philippines (right after Typhoon Haiyan struck), Brazil, and India—and one link came from a man recovering from cancer and another (the very last link) was made members of the Made by Survivors group.

Links averaged two inches in size, and styles and motifs are as varied as the contributors themselves. (Roger Halas turned in a mokume gane link, while Paul Schaaf of Molina Jewelers made an 18k gold link featuring hands holding each other and a piece of Arizona turquoise.) And while some argued that certain links were more attractive than others, D’Enbeau insisted that personal opinions stay out of the project. “It’s not about mistakes, politics, or jurying…this has been a lesson in humanity,” he says. “This changed my perspective on people. And all this happened without anyone meeting each other—it was all out of faith and love.”

To see close-up shots of each link with more information about them, check out the A Hundred For One page on Facebook.

The A Hundred for One project of 194 different jewelry metal links made by 194 different artists will be auctioned off to benefit CERF+.

The A Hundred for One project of 194 different jewelry metal links made by 194 different artists will be auctioned off to benefit CERF+. The project was spearheaded by Ohio jeweler Peter D’Enbeau of Soulmates Jewelry.