Imitating Life

Imitating Life


“Hold On,

Cailey Passer is new to Long Beach, but she says she truly feels at home in the SoCal city.

Originally from New York, between the Hudson Valley and the Adirondacks, Passer spent a year in Las Vegas then moved to Echo Park in Los Angeles for a year before making her way to the place she has called home since June.


Caily Passer

The 26-year-old artist, silversmith and jewelry maker has honed her skills through some formal education as well by watching YouTube videos and interacting with others as she travels. She says jewelry making, in particular, requires much trial and error to master the techniques.

“I absorb any information I [can] from the people I meet through my travels,” Passer said. “I’ve met many Native American silversmiths and people who have been in the business for 30 to 50 years. I appreciate their knowledge that they share and respect their craft so much.”


Jewelry made of .925 sterling silver and American turquoise from various mines in the southwest

Four months ago, she quit her part-time bartending job to focus on being a full-time silversmith and jewelry maker.

“Drawing, painting, sculpting, photography, mixed media, wood cuts, interior design, cake decorating, functional art, jewelry making, performance art, welding— I’m always trying to find more ways of expressing my creativity through traveling and experiences from my journeys,” she said. “Most things I do happen by mistake or I stumble upon them. I have no idea what the future holds.”

How did you get into making jewelry?
I actually got into jewelry making by mistake. I’m always collecting found objects when I’m out exploring and, naturally, I’m trying to utilize them to create art. I was getting into crystal healing at the time and was wishing I had a way to wear them other than wire wrapping. I started trying to make caps for them and played around until I found something that worked. Quickly after, my friends were all asking for these necklaces, so I made them for all of my friends in town. I then had the idea to open an Etsy shop that became pretty successful— accounting for half my income.After becoming bored and limited with the assembly aspect of what I was doing, I decided to learn how to actually fabricate jewelry. With limited resources in my town, I made the move to the West Coast and decided to take this thing seriously.

How does the enjoyment you experience in making jewelry compare to other types of art making?
There’s something really special about spending so much time hand-crafting a piece of jewelry for someone else. Oftentimes I’ll have clients send me stones or ashes for me to create a lasting memory of a loved one. The trust that they have in me is so special, and I always treat these types of things with the utmost care. Sometimes I don’t realize how profound an impact I can make for someone. It’s something I’ve never experienced with any other type of art.


Jewelry made of .925 sterling silver and American turquoise from various mines in the southwest

What is the scene like when you are engaged in creating things?
My space is full of inspiration and positivity. It’s filled with found objects and natural curiosities to keep me inspired. You will find crystals, sage, terrariums, vintage suitcases, old wool blankets, taxidermy, friends’ art work, dried flowers. Every item has purpose or a memory. My favorite music is always playing, and I enjoy other creative souls in my space working on their art with me. There’s always a free table for a friend to come and share that energy with me.

To view more, visit or find her on Instagram at @sageandbrass.