Most ideas are born out of necessity, many form from mistakes, and some come mysteriously in the middle of the night by way of dreams. Our idea for a line of jewelry came from a broken watch. One day in 1984, during a moving party at my brother Steven’s house, someone picked up a small green circuit board that was lying around, and asked “What’s this?”
“It’s from my watch” Steve replied. “It stopped working so I took it apart.”
I commented on how beautiful it was; how it would make a great earring. The chip was passed around and everyone inspected the gold lines and tiny attachments, agreeing that it was much too beautiful to be stuck inside a watch — especially one that didn’t work. Within minutes we were looking for other electronic devices to open up and examine. We discovered that hidden inside almost every electrical device we took apart was an interesting combination of color, line, pattern, texture, and form. Because none of us were electronically savvy, we were genuinely amazed at what we uncovered inside the things we used every day: the calculator, computer, digital clock, telephone, even the washing machine, had aesthetically attractive components inside: components that might look good as jewelry.
Steve kept thinking about the viability of jewelry made from electronic components. He believed the idea was worth pursuing and persuaded me, an artist who liked to dabble in multi-media projects of all kinds, to go on an electronic component excursion to see just what was out there. After visiting local Seattle stores like Radar Electric and other electronics supply stores, we headed down the coast to California where computer technology development was in high gear. A trip to Silicon Valley turned up a jackpot of amazing, intricately patterned ceramic circuit board wafers— many of which were studded with dazzling silicon micro-chips. Available as rejects (saved by the manufacturers for their precious metals) we purchased all we could of the components we found most striking. Thus began the family business we named Transistor Sister, which has been designing and selling a variety of upcycled computer geek chic earrings, necklaces, tie accessories, lapel pins, key chains, and cuff links ever since.
Over the 30+ years we have been in business, Transistor Sister has seen many changes and gone in several directions, but until recently my brother, Steve Grzadzielewski, was always at the helm. Steve died on Jan 2, 2015, from metastatic prostate cancer and we miss him terribly. He was our fearless leader, who made so many things possible. In going forward we channel him constantly, and so he is still, in essence, guiding us along. While computer and electronic technology has advanced and changed dramatically since we started our business in 1984, and entire computing devices can now fit on a wrist, we are still offering some of our best, original designs. Once state-of-the-art, we now consider many of our designs to be vintage pieces of history. Whether buying our computer jewelry as a geek gift, ordering it for yourself to wear, or just viewing our products on this website, we hope you enjoy our creations with a spirit of wonder at the beauty to be found in the world of computers and electronics. - Susan Grzadzielewski