An artist is someone who thrives within a medium and brings life to that which she touches. Art can come in many forms, from mosaics to paint, or dance to jewelry creation. Local artisan Julie Sims brightens the lives of those who wear her handcrafted jewelry pieces. The smile on her face as she discusses her world is a testament to her passion.

 At a young age, Julie’s parents recognized her creative ability and offered an art table where she could get messy with all the paint and drawing projects her heart desired. As she grew older, her father developed a workshop of his own in the basement and built Julie a larger table so she could “create a mess and close the door.” It’s amazing how providing a designated space can inspire a developing mind.

Years creating at that table inspired Julie to take every art class possible once she reached high school. She found herself gravitating more toward 3D work such as ceramics. Her goal was to study art in college and took her parents’ suggestions to focus on a more employable/lucrative career in advertising design. At Indiana University, one of the courses in her visual arts program was metal-smithing, and it lit a fire within—one she didn’t revisit for quite some time.

“Heirloom pieces are a large part of her business.”

After college, Julie put her graphic design skills to work at an advertising agency in Denver. It didn’t take long for her to realize her interests laid in 3D work and metals. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she went back to school to get her teaching license so she could share her love of creating with a younger generation. She taught jewelry and metalsmithing at a high school for some time and absolutely loved it. But her time was short-lived when she and her husband began a family. Then, luck came Julie’s way when the teacher she replaced was in need of help with her home-based customized jewelry business. For six years, Julie learned the ins and outs of operating a jewelry business and the creative process necessary to succeed.

Once her children entered elementary school, Julie was ready to break out on her own and establish herself as a custom jewelry artisan. Due to her stellar capabilities, word-of-mouth clients flowed naturally and her business began to thrive. Now, for over 18 years, she has been working diligently in her field of passion.

Julie begins the process of creating custom jewelry with a consultation, where the client shares their vision. Typically, it’s creating a piece from scratch based upon photos they bring or pieces of jewelry they have. Heirloom pieces are a large part of her business. She shares, enthusiastically, “I enjoy working and designing with my clients. The jewelry pieces are typically very sentimental—they tell a story and carry meaning.”

After the initial consultation, Julie will create several sketches to share with clients. She will then reconnect with the client to ensure designs are accurate and exactly what was envisioned. After all is in agreement, she gets to work in her studio. Depending on the design, one of two techniques is used—lost wax casting or hand-fabrication. Lost wax casting involves creating a 3D wax rendering that is molded in a plaster material to create a mold for melted metal to form the shape of the wax when it is melted out. After the cast is cooled, there is sanding, filing and polishing done manually to bring the one-of-a-kind piece to its final stage. Gemstones are always the last to be added due to their delicacy. After a final polish for perfection, Julie will present the piece to her client, which usually results in an intimate, tear-filled and grateful encounter.

In addition to her private business, Julie was on the board for the Evergreen Artists Association for 12 years, then transitioned to the director, where she is now responsible for organizing the yearly Evergreen Arts Festival, which will be August 26 and 27 this year. She also leads the charge on offering grants and scholarships to budding high school artists, art departments, and adult artists who apply.

It’s no wonder Julie Sims’s work is deeply sought-after and recommended by many. She is a kindhearted, personable individual with a true penchant for designing heart-led jewelry her customers cherish and proudly display.

To contact Julie or see more of her jewelry, please visit, email, or call 303.887.1904 for a private consultation.