Julia Berg of Petite Mort grew up in the neighborhood wool shop owned by her grandfather and remembers always making something creative out of the materials around her. Self-taught in knitting and crochet like her mother and grandmother, she transitioned to jewelry after training in film school. It “happened naturally,” she says. “While still in the university I developed an interest toward gemstones, both as a healing tool and in adoration to the fascinating shapes intricately created by mother nature. I obtained a raw gemstone that I wanted to wear as a necklace, but couldn’t seem to find any design in the stores that felt right. So I started to experiment with materials until I came up with a solid way to catch the gemstones without harm in an elegant, soft, flowing way.”
All Petite Mort offerings are created in Berg’s Haifa-based studio where she uses carefully handpicked gemstones and spins webs around them, preserving the natural uniqueness of each stone. Each piece is truly one of a kind, and the shop has long been one of my favorites on Etsy: nobody else I can think of uses textiles and gems to create jewelry that is both a sculptural work of art and something one might wear every day as a talisman. Berg describes her process as a journey into ancient cultures and shamanic mysticism, accentuating the “esthetics of nature.” The shop’s name, Petite Mort, literally means “small death” and is an idiomatic French expression for the word “orgasm” — Berg explains that there’s always a “small death” in the act of taking something from the earth, and then a pure joy in recreating it into a new and beautiful object.