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Calgary jewelry designer supports women worldwide: ‘Really inspiring’

This spring is bringing a Calgary jewelry designer a new spring in her step.

Kelsey Merkeley is getting some international recognition, while also supporting women and girls worldwide.

Merkeley is donating 25 per cent of the proceeds from sales of a heart-shaped pendant she designed to Days for Girls.

Days for Girls is an international charity organization that supports women and girls facing stigmatization related to menstruation.

“They offer education initiatives and period kits to women in need in a lot of African countries and Middle Eastern countries, where menstruation stigmatization is really high – women shunned because they’re considered dirty,” Merkeley said.

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“It’s just a natural part of being a woman and it’s a beautiful part of being a woman.”

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Along with running her jewelry company NVR NUDE, Merkeley is also an instructor at the Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts).

While demonstrating how she makes her heart-shaped pendants, Merkeley was also showing two of her AUArts students about some exposure she’s been getting recently in international magazines.

“This is the number one publication for American jewelry store owners and this is my piece here,” Merkeley said, pointing to a ring she’d designed that was featured in the magazine.

Merkeley was also showcased as a rising star in another U.S. jewelry magazine and featured in British Vogue, for which she says she paid approximately $300.

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“They wrote this little blurb about me, talking about how I use recycled gold,” Merkeley said. “I was super excited.”

Merkeley’s students were impressed by the international exposure.

“I just think it’s so important to see females succeed in this industry,” AUArts student Hailey Ross said.

The students say they admire Merkeley’s efforts to support ending stigmatization related to menstruation.

“You want to help people see it’s a normal thing,” AUArts student AJ LaRiviere told Merkeley, “I feel so proud of you – you always have time to do your best and that’s really inspiring, as a student and as an artist.”

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