House of Color
A partnership of art and industry, Holly Yashi was founded in 1981 by jewelry designer Holly Hosterman and industrial artist Paul Lubitz (a.k.a. Yashi). Holly Yashi's stylish jewelry, with its amazing, luminous colors and innovative materials, met with immediate success in the marketplace, and the company soon became known throughout the U.S. Today, Holly Yashi is a multi-million dollar studio with a staff of over 50 artisans supplying a world-wide demand for Paul and Holly's unmistakable Jewelry as Art.
A Jewel of a Success Story
Twenty years - and tens of thousands of earrings ago - Holly Yashi was born in a rented garage in the small college town of Arcata, deep behind the "Redwood Curtain" along the rugged coast of Northern California. The company started almost as a lark - two young Humboldt State University graduates, in love, and in search of "real" careers. Their shared vision that began it all carries through to today.
Paul Lubitz, with a master's degree in Industrial Arts, and Holly Hosterman, with a bachelor's degree in Fine Art, decided to start a jewelry manufacturing business. Holly, with early awards in school and a recent successful showing of her handcrafted jewelry thought, "Can we really do this for a living?"
Holly Yashi Comes Alive
Paul got to work doing research on the manufacturing techniques; Holly got to work on her brass and silver animals; and the two talents meshed. They combined names, too, taking Holly's first and Paul's childhood nickname, "Yashi", and Holly Yashi was born.
"We couldn't afford our own booth at our first show (in Portland, Oregon), so we shared space with someone who made potholders and aprons," Paul recalls. "But we came home with $500 in orders!" Even though they didn't break even at their first showing, they came home excited - people wanted their work.
Space-Age Metal ~ Timeless Beauty
It was a singular event, however, that really fired Holly Yashi's artistic and financial success. Along with the gold, silver, and copper they had been using, Holly and Paul discovered the extraordinary beauty that lurks in a dull grey metal called niobium. Dipped in an electrically-charged bath, the refractory metal flashes into magnificent colors (oxide layers that permanently change its color), depending on what voltage of electricity is applied.
Though niobium is twice the price of silver and nine times the price of titanium, Holly's designs demand its superior coloring properties. Equally important, niobium is environmentally clean from start to finish. And besides being clean, it is lightweight and so hypoallergenic that it's highly sought after for use in surgical implants - perfect for earrings!
Jewelry as Art
While niobium has been used to great effect in the aerospace and medical industries, it reaches its full glory on Holly Hosterman's drawing board and in the hands of the devoted artisans who turn her designs into reality. Over the years, the studio has proven its jewelry making skills again and again, tested by the increasing complexity of Hosterman's designs. Early on, Hosterman's bold artistic concepts forced a succession of technological innovations at the studio, presided over by Lubitz, even as he managed Holly Yashi's ever increasing work flow and the company's propitious growth.
Currently, there are some 1,200 original designs in the Holly Yashi portfolio, each hand-crafted, hand-signed, and made in the USA. Holly Yashi's unmistakable "jewelry as art" is sold at thousands of upscale art and design shops, museum stores, resorts, and major department stores throughout the U.S., and is eagerly collected throughout the world.