When your average metal technician looks at a damaged bumper, hood, door or quarter panel, their first instinct is to try and fix it.
But, when Christi Schimpke, founder of CRASH Jewelry in western Los Angeles, CA, sees any of these automotive parts, her perspective is dramatically different, fueled by her creativity and an artistic eye.
Schimpke makes sustainable jewelry from the metal of luxury automobiles for men and women.
Her husband, Dan, is the co-owner of Beverly CoachCraft, a 41-year-old shop specializing in repairing late-model Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Bentley, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Maserati and other high-end vehicles. It’s a perfect source for parts from high-end cars, after anything from fender benders all the way to complete totals.
In 2013, Schimpke decided to set up her studio at CoachCraft and that’s when the magic began.
“While I was in my studio, making more traditional jewelry from silver and gold, I noticed these beautiful cars that were coming into the shop every day,” she said. “The paint reminded me of enamel, so I began wondering if I could create something with those fenders and doors and give them a second life.”
Schimpke’s husband, a former technician, has helped with her business every step of the way, she said.
“He began as a technician, so he knows a lot about the metals and the paint how they can be manipulated. If I have any questions, I have an in-house consultant right here to provide answers and he has been such a plus.”
When Schimpke came up with the initial concept for CRASH Jewelry, she knew it was doable...