Jewelry designed by South Fayette woman sold nationwide
A love of art has still remained, despite several diverse career choices made by South Fayette Township resident Michelle Van Bibber.
Although she won many art awards in high school, she went on to graduate from Virginia Tech with a degree in animal science and worked with veterinary pathologists and pharmaceutical companies in the study of diseases and drug therapies while living in northern Virginia.
Once married, she moved to the Pittsburgh area where she worked in the gastroenterology department of medicine doing cancer research and dabbled in art by making drawings for the articles submitted by her department to various medical journals.
The hours were long in these positions and, once her second child was born, she decided to be a stay-at-home mother and began getting back into scrapbooking and jewelry-making for fun. Attendance at a few craft shows led to a boutique's request to sell her jewelry wholesale at the store. She set up a small company and started selling to more stores.
The first wholesale gift show she ever attended was the 2007 Virginia Gift Show in Virginia Beach, Va. From there she was asked by the Virginia State Parks to custom design jewelry for many of their gift shops. She is a member of the Museum Store Association, which holds its own trade show.
She researches each semi-precious and precious stone she works with, learning about their healing properties and role in history. This information goes on the displays in the stores and on the tags of all her stone jewelry.
She designs every piece and then contracts out the pieces to be made. Her husband Mike helps with website designs and building jewelry displays. Her mother, who lives in Virginia, helps by designing layouts for advertisements and promotional items.
She named her company Ciao Bella Jewelry in 2008, after a family trip to Italy in which Italian men were marveling at her young daughter's blonde hair, saying “Ciao Bella,” which means “Hello, Beautiful.” After returning from Europe, Helina suggested using her “Italian name” for the new company.
Locally, her jewelry is sold at MoZaic Boutique in Collier Town Square. If traveling, one could find her items in the gift shops of the National Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Va.; the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredricksburg, Texas; and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, among others. Her jewelry is sold in stores in 15 states.
For more information, visit www.ciaobellajewelry.us.
Charlotte Smith is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at 724-693-9441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.