(734) 994-4848
Specializing in Custom Jewelry, Engagement, Wedding,
and Commitment Rings. Located in Ann Arbor, MI

The Abra Crew

Steven and Katherine Lesse

Steven & Katherine Lesse

Steven began making jewelry in the tenth grade. He then worked towards his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. In his last year of college, a "fan" commissioned him to make 12 Ohm pendants, just like the one he has worn every day since. After gifting 11 pendants, his friends started to call asking for more to be made. This began his long journey towards an eventual lifetime in custom design, establishing what would become Abracadabra Jewelry/Gem Gallery in 1974. More on this story can be found in the About Us section of our site.  

Born in Sharon, Connecticut, raised in Brooklyn, New York, a year in Paris and summer's living on a sailboat named KATE B, Katherine came to Ann Arbor in 1978. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a BA in Art History and a minor in Psychology, she managed 5 health clubs for Elaine Powers and then LivingWell Fitness Centers. While raising her 2 young daughters, she co-owned and operated Aardvark Cruisin' Travel and edited on-line software documentation. In 1998 Katherine and Steven met for the "last time" :) at the Top of The Park Summer Festival. After much "begging" (on Steven's part), Katherine joined the Abracadabra Crew as the general manager. In 1999, on millennium New Year's Eve, Mayor Ingrid Sheldon married Steven and Katherine during a candle lit ceremony held in front of the store safe and many family and friends, sealing their fate as co-owners and partners for life. Katherine introduced computers, websites, point of sale systems, major community giving and helped develop an amazing team of dedicated, passionate, talented professional designers, fondly known as "The Abra Crew".
NELZ bio pic 2015

Natalie Erica Leat Zolg

During her senior year at Capital University, Natalie began her jewelry career via a four month internship at a high-end custom jewelry store in Columbus, Ohio.  It was a final requirement for her BFA in Metalsmithing and it provided an excellent opportunity to get her foot in the door at a studio.  The internship led to a full-time apprenticeship and then on to her own bench position.  Columbus was a great city with plenty to offer, but she missed the lakes and woods of Michigan so she moved home in 2001 and joined the Abra team that fall.  After an exciting and diverse overseas hiatus in Japan and Wisconsin (Lake Michigan is kind of like a sea), she came back to Abra in 2010 as a jewelry designer and bench jeweler.  She now lives in Brighton with her wonderful husband Nathan and the cats, Adelaide and Fritz the S@#tz.
Natalie favors classic and vintage designs that emphasize not only the materials used in a piece of jewelry, but its overall form as well.  Fine details and clean lines lend themselves naturally to timeless jewelry.  Yellow gold and platinum are her preferred metals for their richness and soft luster.  Like most ladies, she has a thing for diamonds but is also intrigued by the individuality of colored stones, especially pearls. Natalie is an Ann Arbor Visitors Bureau Certified Tourism Ambassador and a Jewelers of America Certified Management Professional. 

Moria Barton Sherard

An Ann Arbor native, Moria left her hometown to experience life in Colorado, Arizona and Alaska. An experienced designer, having spent five years with a prominent shop (Creative Gold) in Colorado Springs, Moria has been with Abracadabra since 2004. As an art and design student in college, she received several awards. Her love of design and jewelry inspired her to study the creation of handmade jewelry at the Ann Arbor Art Center. The clean lines and simple beauty of landscapes inspire her modern aesthetic, evident in her current designs. Moria truly enjoys her craft, which has been in her family for three generations. Her grandmother was an antique jewelry dealer. Together with her mother and sister, Barton Designs is a line of semi-precious colored gemstone jewelry in sterling silver and gold filled, exclusively showcased at Abracadabra. Matt (husband), Cleo (boxer “daughter”) and Moria, love taking long walks through Nichols Arboretum. Moria is an Ann Arbor Visitors Bureau Certified Tourism Ambassador and a Jewelers of America Certified Senior Sales Professional. 

Margaret Gale  

Until Margaret is voted Prime Minister of Canada, she is contentedly biding her time here at Abra. A former high school teacher, Margaret now grades stones instead of essays, and is a skilled and fastidious appraiser and designer. Margaret's home life is full of dogs and renovation projects: "I guess that's what you get when you buy a house that was abandoned for two years," she shrugs. Margaret enjoys discussing all things dog, linguistics, and her newfound love of pearls. If you can work all three topics into a conversation, she will be thoroughly impressed, right down to her Canadian core. The accomplishments and accolades Margaret can boast about include the following:a B.A. in English, a state of Michigan secondary teaching certificate, an M.A. in linguistics, GIA Accredited Jewelry Professional, Jewelers of America Certified Senior Sales Professional, and GIA Graduate Pearls. She is also an Ann Arbor Visitors Bureau Certified Tourism Ambassador. 

GB bio pic 2016

Greta Mae Barnard

Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Greta attended art school at Warren Wilson College in the mountains of North Carolina.  There she studied printmaking, bookbinding, and old time music while living on a 300-acre farm.  She returned to her home town in 2008 and now lives in a house full of animals (including one toddler) and stringed instruments.  Her work is strongly influenced by the surrounding farm land, and her admiration for the natural world shows itself in her love of simple forms, contrasting textures, and gradation of color.  Much of her free time is spent making baked goods, raising chickens, and slowly killing her house plants. Greta is an Ann Arbor Visitors Bureau Certified Tourism Ambassador and a Jewelers of America Certified Senior Sales Professional. 

Amanda Lawrence

Amanda Lawrence

Amanda never met a rock she didn't like. An avid traveler, she rockhounds the globe and can be found every August hunting agates along the shores of the Great Lakes. After graduating from Kalamazoo College with a degree in sustainable development, she ventured to the Pacific Northwest to serve in AmeriCorps and search for sunstones in the high desert. Following a trail of fossil sites led her back to the Great Lakes, where she was thrilled to find Abra, with its focus on sustainably sourced gems and fair trade jewelry. Amanda is an Ann Arbor Visitors Bureau Certified Tourism Ambassador and a Jewelers of America Certified Senior Sales Professional. 

Amanda Lawrence

Mary Simkins

After a Help Wanted sign brought Mary into Abra, she was run over by a motorized wheelchair the moment she stepped foot out the door. Rather than laugh at her misfortune, the Abra Crew - who happened to all be sitting in the window - helped her inside to nurse her injuries (they may have laughed later, and rightfully so). Mary has been recovering nicely as part of the Crew ever since. A world class chatterbox with a background in project management and customer service, Mary is thrilled to spend her days at Abracadabra doing two things she loves: making new friends and getting distracted by shiny objects. Mary is an Ann Arbor Visitors Bureau Certified Tourism Ambassador and a Jewelers of America Certified Senior Sales Professional. 

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