Farming and jewelry may not have much in common, but after running both a farm and a thriving jewelry business, Rosemary Corte says peanuts and pendants aren’t as different as they seem.
For years, she and husband Jay partnered to run their peanut and sod farm plus a shipping container business. Jay, a fifth-generation Baldwin County farmer, is a Baldwin County Farmers Federation director. He handled the farming, and Rosemary kept the books. Their children, 20-year-old Jay and 15-year-old Hallie, grew up working on the farm, too.
In September 2015, Rosemary decided she needed a creative outlet and started a high-end jewelry business. Aptly named Harvest Jewels, it honors her family’s life together on the farm.
“My best friend from boarding school and college was a jewelry designer, and she came to visit that summer,” Rosemary said. “I talked her into getting back into the jewelry business with me. We decided if it didn’t work, at least we’d have some beautiful jewelry for ourselves. We had no idea it would go so well.”
Rosemary quickly realized her farm experience was an asset.
“You can be the most creative person on earth, but if you can’t run the backside of your business, you’re never going to be successful,” she said. “Handling the business side of our farm and container business taught me how to work with people, manage employees, manage money, set priorities and communicate well with all types of individuals.”
Harvest Jewels has become Corte’s full-time job, and her jewelry is popular all over the Southeast at boutiques and trunk shows.
Harvest Jewels’ style is best described as elegance with an edge. Rosemary said her goal is for each piece to work well with a T-shirt and jeans or an evening gown. Each creation has a diamond-encrusted lobster clasp and real, high-quality gemstones set in oxidized sterling silver.
“I want these pieces to go from daytime to nighttime,” she said. “Most of our pieces can be worn with or without a pendant, so you can wear it without the pendant during the day and then add a pendant to make a statement in the evening.”
Customer Carmen Kirchharr of Fairhope said she gets compliments whenever she wears her Harvest Jewels pieces.
“Each piece is unique and stunning,” Kirchharr said. “I used to shop at another jewelry store, but since I’ve found Harvest Jewels, I haven’t bought anything from there. I went back to that store the other day, and the owner asked me, ‘Have you been cheating on me?’ I showed him my Harvest Jewels pieces, and he was blown away.”
Although Rosemary no longer works on the farm, she wants to use Harvest Jewels to give back to farmers. She designed a popular diamond-covered peanut pendant and plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from each pendant to the National Peanut Board.
“We love the peanut industry,” she said. “It’s been good to us.”
Find store locations, information about trunk shows and shop online at HarvestJewels.com.