About

The Vital Element features handcrafted jewelry, decor and local educational workshops, featuring carefully curated materials with unique attributes.

"I am constantly inspired by the natural beauty of crystals and semiprecious gemstones, especially agate. Working with silver and gold to create pieces that inspire and adorn body and home, I aim for a balance of raw, natural beauty and refined style, often leaning toward a modern aesthetic.

In addition to creating pieces to sell, I am gratified to share my skills with others in workshops. To lead these classes is immensely gratifying, as I get to see the wonder and delight of my students as they discover new facets of their creativity and capability." - Cassandra

DESIGNER

Cassandra Lenzini is a jewelry designer, metalsmith, lapidary artist and workshop instructor living and working in the Willamette Valley near Portland, Oregon. A self-taught artist and creative MacGuyver, she shares her artistic passions by combining metal and stone into natural adornments for body and home.

When the Market season winds down, she can be found leading creative and botanical workshops in the surrounding communities. Made for both adults and kids, her workshops aim to bring out your own creative spirit. Whether creating jewelry or playing in the dirt, she seeks projects that show attendees they're all capable of creating beautiful things. 

FOUNDATION

Creativity and handcrafting runs in the family. With her love of art, nature and education, creating a business that incorporates and shares all these elements was a natural evolution.

"Growing up in my Mom's art studio taught me to always look for the vital elements of each project - those little, inspiring details that make a piece special. I credit this experience to much of the ingenuity being a self-taught designer and business owner requires."

WHERE TO SHOP & LEARN

In addition to our online sales channels, The Vital Element can be found in the following featured retailers, as well as at local craft markets throughout the year:

Carter & Rose
3601 SE Division St,
Portland, OR 97202

  • Delicate Beaded Necklaces
  • Stone and Crystal Stud Earrings

Wolff Gallery
2804 SE Ankeny St,
Portland, OR 97214

  • Crystal and Gemstone Statement Jewelry, including:
    Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets & Cuffs, One-of-a-Kind Pieces
  • Agate Suncatchers

Milwaukie Farmer's Market
Every Sunday 9:30am to 2pm, May through October + November Holiday Market
2000 SE Harrison St,
Milwaukie, OR 97222

  • Market-friendly curated selection, including agate suncatchers, agate coasters and bookends, crystal clusters, locally sourced petrified wood and stone magnets and a wide variety of jewelry selected especially for the market. 

Wednesdays in Willamette Summer Market
Every Wednesday 4-8pm, June through August
1683 Willamette Falls Dr,
West Linn, OR 97068

  • Market-friendly curated selection, including agate suncatchers, crystal clusters, locally sourced petrified wood and stone magnets and a wide variety of jewelry selected especially for the market. 

Milwaukie Floral & Garden Center
3306 SE Lake Rd,
Milwaukie, OR 97222

  • Planters & our favorite workshop location!

Be sure to follow on instagram @thevitalelement for updates on special markets and holiday craft fairs throughout the year, as well as special product releases and updates.

MATERIALS

Each stone and crystal is hand-curated, ensuring quality with a focus on beautiful specimens with unique coloring, shapes, and forms.

Some pieces utilize silver and gold plated materials, to make my pieces accessible to more people. To ensure skin sensitivity is never a concern, I always specify if an item is made with plated materials.

To keep our prices affordable without sacrificing quality, we utilize gold filled wire and chain instead of solid gold. This is created when a substantial layer of gold is permanently pressure-bonded to a base metal - saving you money and adding durability, without sacrificing the long-lasting wearability of solid gold. However, if solid gold is your preference, we're happy to create a custom order for you.

PROCESS

The design and creation process explores both the aesthetic and functional natures of the piece. All pieces are created with a high level of detail and care, focusing on the process and the handwork involved in each step. When incorporating organic materials, pieces become predominantly one-of-a-kind in nature, due to the unique stones and crystals used in each piece. Items may also have different markings from the metalwork process. Hammering and filing marks are equal parts development as well as contributing to the overall design aesthetic. These imprints showcase the jewelry’s handcrafted authenticity and further impart a personal touch and handcrafted feel.

Each design requires different tools, materials, and techniques; often ranging from cutting, polishing, and drilling stones to hand sawing and hammering raw metal sheets, forming wire, riveting, soldering, or any combination in-between.