Miriam Richard is Dallas-born and bred, but the Ursuline graduate has found a new home: Highland Park.
After transplanting from Carrollton with her husband and three children for better schools, she’s realized what an impact the area can have on its residents.
With that community pride in mind, she designed a bracelet for herself in the spirit of Highland Park. That first bracelet marked the start of Spiritage, Richard’s neighborhood-inspired jewelry line.
With designs based on the architectural stones of Highland Park Village, the line’s earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and charms are inlaid with blue and yellow sapphires.
“I spent two years trying to decide what screamed Park Cities in the most understated, elegant way possible,” Richard said. “I wanted it to be nice enough to be dressy, but casual enough to wear to a sporting event.”
Richard, professionally trained as a physical therapist, had no prior experience with jewelry, other than designing a few personal pieces for her own collection. From the James Avery gymnast pendant she wore through college to the promise ring she was given by her now-husband, each piece she owns holds a memory.
“All of my jewelry has a meaning to it. I’m always looking for the unusual piece,” she said. “These pieces, to me, are showing that love and pride of where you came from.”
But Spiritage is more than just jewelry. Richard has started a blog to coincide with the line that acts as an archive for the neighborhood’s spirit and pride.
“Before we moved, I didn’t know how rich in heritage, tradition, spirit, and small-town, community feel it was, even though I grew up next door,” Richard said.
The blog tells a story of neighbors who came to another’s aid when their child got a concussion in physical education class.
Another post extols Kitty Ritchie Holleman’s generous, weekly brunch. By talking with and listening to her own friends and neighbors, Richard has gathered a number of uplifting stories of kindness in the Park Cities.
The word “spiritage” itself, coined by Richard, represents that attitude.
A mix of spirit and heritage, she hopes that others in the area, from mothers to high school students who might find a connection to her jewelry, embrace the term.
For Richard, the extra link in her bracelet will become a class ring for her daughter, now 7 years old, as a symbol of the legacy and relationship they share.
“It’s something that’s bigger than yourself,” she said.
Olena Clarkson, originally from Ukraine, met Richard for the first time six years ago at the playground next to Armstrong Elementary School.
Now, she has a number of pieces from Richard’s collection, including earrings and a ring.
“The jewelry represents Highland Park and my country, Ukraine,” Clarkson said. “The flag is yellow and blue, like her sapphires. For me, it’s a double meaning.”
As Spiritage grows, both online and in stores, the line has been made to be flexible.
The stones can be changed for collegiate colors, birthstones, or to fit the design aesthetic of the client, while still maintaining the architectural resonance of Highland Park.
“I don’t always want to wear a baseball hat that says Scots,” said Richard, who has children in elementary, middle, and high school in HPISD. “At the same time, I want people to know how happy I am to be here.”