Rebel Nell turns glass from historic conservatory into floral jewelry

Lots of jewelry makers repurpose materials, but Detroit-based Rebel Nell is upping the game with a collection using glass recovered during the renovation of the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, the oldest continually operating conservatory in the United States.

Designed by celebrated architect Albert Kahn with Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in mind, the conservatory in Detroit’s Belle Isle Park dates to 1904 and still had its original steel trusses. It has been closed since November 2022 for a $10 million renovation.

Rebel Nell is making only 225 pieces for the limited-edition collection, using discarded glass from the greenhouse building (and its massive 80-foot-high dome) as well as flowers and foliage from the conservatory’s gardens, says Amy Peterson, cofounder and CEO of Rebel Nell, a jewelry and accessories brand certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

Introduced on August 24, the collection includes necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, cufflinks, and some household goods, such as bottle stoppers. Each piece has a unique serial number engraved on the back, Peterson says. Prices range from $45 for a Lauren ring to $120 for Diana earrings. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Belle Isle Conservancy.


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