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Notes from a Crusty Seeker

The Yoga of Beautiful Jewelry

The first thing I notice about the woman crossing the hill to me in Central Park is color. Sizzling grey-blue jacket, violet scarf, purple something else topped by a mane of chestnut hair shining golden in the sunlight, penetrating green eyes flecked with something that stops you dead and demands attention. Her colors are so radiant that it isn’t until we are face to face that I realize I know her.

Mikelle Terson was my aerobics teacher about 20 years ago. I remember the colors even then: after an hour of sweating, she led a cool-down visualization of kaleidoscopic golden light, wafts of green, and cool blue pools of peace.

Mikelle Terson never planned to be an aerobics teacher who was also a yoga teacher to people who so cherished her abilities that they took her with them all over the world. She never planned to acquire gold and antique jewelry while globe trekking. She never planned to become a jewelry designer … or a great beauty championing the beauty in everybody and everything. It just worked out that way.

Her original plan was to be a “female George Plimpton.” “I wanted to experience all these different things and then let people know about them,” she says demurely. After acquiring gold and stones in her travels, she began making her own jewelry and, to her surprise, she was constantly stopped on the street about it. “One time somebody even bought a piece off my neck.” Being a person who respects the directions of the Universe, she decided to bring a box of her jewelry to a yoga conference, only to find that everything sold.

“I was always looking for a way to have a wider effect,” she says. “I’m naturally kind of shy, and I was looking for something that could go out into the world besides me.” So it seems the jewelry chose her. Through her company, Mikelle Design, she hopes to conduct humanitarian projects — particularly to help South African women with AIDS. (She is selling exquisite glass-beaded horses made by a group of them on her website.) And as the company grows, she hopes to be able to do more good works.

Yoga (meaning union) and tantra (meaning to weave) are Mikelle’s directing forces: weaving together good works, a living income, and beauty. “The theme of my life is about creating beauty,” she explains. “I love all different kinds of people, and I want my company to energetically make people feel good. When you feel good about yourself, you want to help other people. It’s just a natural component. I think beauty is universal. We may not agree universally on what is beautiful, but beauty itself is uplifting.”

Mikelle believes that the stones she uses for her jewelry have unknown magic. “They come from Mother Earth and they glisten, they have light. Also there’s the talisman aspect of it,” she says. “If you put on a piece that means something to you, that has a story, every time you put that on, it has such significance. The power of beauty is great because of the story and the meaning.”

People often buy jewelry as an expression of loving themselves, or they receive it as a gift from someone who loves them, says Mikelle. So when someone wears it, they are wearing the story of that love.

March 30th through April 5th, Mikelle Design will be holding a 30 percent off sale (everything except the antiques because “You can’t discount history”). You can window shop on the website ahead of time, then go back for the bargains. And Mikelle does "trunk shows" several times a year and meets people by appointment only. To get email notices about the shows, sign up for her newsletter on her website, and for appointments, call 212-645-3553.

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