SU freshman designs Latin-inspired custom jewelry

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Lizmarie Montemayor’s dorm room in Lawrinson Hall is filled with original molds that she fills with resin to create handmade jewelry for her brand, Limón Dulce.

In addition to using her molds, she also creates custom designs, a process that can take one to three weeks due to product sourcing and coursework.

The Syracuse University freshman makes earrings, ashtrays, bookmarks and keychains, and she has necklaces “on the agenda.” She averages between $8 and $20 a piece for her jewelry, and prices her ashtrays between $25 and $30.

Limón Dulce, which translates to “sweet lemon” in Spanish, has its own Instagram page where customers can direct message Montemayor to purchase jewelry. The business hopes to start an Etsy account this coming summer.

“I try to make them as affordable as I can because I’m also a college student,” Montemayor said.

The SU freshman began making jewelry out of polymer clay during her junior year of high school in Puerto Rico. After a break from jewelry making, she found herself “falling out of love” with the craft, leading her to begin working with resin instead.

Montemayor averages between $8 and $20 a piece for her jewelry. Chenze Chen | Contributing Photographer

Everything Montemayor knows about jewelry making is self-taught, and she continues to buy the materials herself. In high school, she did this while navigating 10 classes per day.

Transitioning to SU this fall meant expanding her clientele beyond her customers in Puerto Rico. SU freshman Sydney Newcomb considers herself a loyal customer of Montemayor’s business. The two became friends after living in the Maxwell Citizenship Living Learning Community together, and by connecting through a mutual friend.

“She often offers to give it to us for free, and we tell her, ‘No, we’re your friends, and we’re supporting your business,’” Newcomb said.

She has two pairs of earrings made by Montemayor and received an ashtray from the jewelry maker as a Valentine’s Day gift.

“It’s really a way for her to communicate her love for us and to de-stress,” Newcomb said.

Montemayor considers herself to be driven and has always been dedicated to what she enjoys. Jewelry making is a creative outlet for her more than anything else. She can push through coursework by reminding herself what she will create once she has finished.

Due to the demands of being a full-time student, Montemayor works in small batches. She places importance on enjoying the work and doesn’t depend on it as a form of steady income.

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“Last week, some friends came and bought six to seven pieces. I’m on a break now to focus more on uni stuff,” she said.

Fellow SU freshman Ruby Bender lives next to Montemayor in Lawrinson and introduced her to Newcomb.

She has five pieces from Limón Dulce in total, one of which was a birthday present. She hopes that Montemayor can continue to make jewelry and be happy while doing it.

“I will buy these from her till the day I die,” Bender said. “I love her stuff.”

Montemayor, who wants to become an interpreter, would like to make a larger impact through art after she graduates. She believes that many Hispanic and Latino artists are not recognized because their artistic expression is tuned out of mainstream art culture, so she hopes to travel with Latinx artists around the world helping them share their work.

“The vision of what art is is very European-centered,” Montemayor said. “I hope to create a more inclusive world in art by being able to take Latin artists around the world and introducing them to different parts of the world.”