(GULF BREEZE, Fla.) - Attendees to the 2011 Evening of Comedy benefit for Covenant Hospice had the opportunity to bid on an original handcrafted gold and silver necklace by Florida-based jewelry artist Stephanie Ritchie.
When a customer first approached Ritchie to create a heart motif necklace, she scoffed. Ubiquitous heart themed jewelry did not inspire the self taught jewelry artist who specializes in surface texturing. With the understanding that anyone who has lived or loved very much at all has had their heart beaten, broken, and set afire, the talented designer realized that she could create a heart that accurately depicts the depths of pain and healing that life can throw at someone. The Tortured Heart jewelry collection was born.In June 2011, Stephanie Ritchie opened The Tortured Heart Jewelry Studio and Fine Art Gallery where her numerous jewelry collections are showcased alongside glassworks, paintings, and photography by accomplished local artists. Her decision to participate in the Covenant Hospice silent auction comes from a very personal place of loss. The heartbreaking death of her father in 2009 left Ritchie with a profound appreciation for the importance of hospice care which allowed her father to pass peacefully at home.
To demonstrate her commitment to charitable giving, Ritchie donated a handmade Tortured Heart necklace in gold and silver. The original necklace has been beaten and hammered, pierced and broken, but also mended. Finally, it has grown wings. The necklace speaks volumes to those who have loved and lost, and it is Ritchie’s hope that her designs will raise money and awareness for Covenant Hospice. The necklace is valued at $950. The auction took place during the Saturday August 20th Evening of Comedy benefit at the Hilton Hotel on the Pensacola Beach Gulf Front.