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CISTHENE is owned and operated by Jen Altman. Apart from curating and running the shop, Jen is a professional photographer and author whose clients include Chronicle Books, Martha Stewart Living, and Kinfolk Magazine. You can view her portfolio here and follow her adventures in travel and food with her family on the acclaimed blog Nectar. She also runs the annual Instant Love retreat in Marrakech, Morocco.

"Jewelry is personal. Some, such as myself, could argue that it could indeed be the most personal thing you place on your body. It is not simply metal and stone that we adorn ourselves with, instead it is thousands of years of craftsmanship; it is metal from the depths of our Earth and minerals that have endured millions of years of trial by water and fire to become what they are today. The practice of wearing jewelry, originally for protection then for currency and finally for decoration, is as nearly as ancient as humanity itself. And I use the word practice purposefully, for truly wearing jewelry is a practice more so than an act. We imbue our jewels with our own energies, our desires, and even our individual histories; each piece becomes a Talisman charged with our personal magic.

At CISTHENE, we want you to find your own Talismans. Your own symbols of protection and power – because, that is ultimately what jewelry can give you. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks knew this, the Celts knew this, and we continue seeking out those pieces that call to our souls today. So have a look… your Talisman is waiting.

Why CISTHENE? Cisthene (pronounced kees-THEE-nee) is the mythical island where Medusa is thought to dwell. She is the subject of seduction, envy, and spell-binding tales. Whether her serpent tresses still call the island home, only the Goddess knows. After I read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology when I was 12 years old, the epic tales of Olympus became my religion. I felt an affinity for both Medusa and Athena, the Great Goddess thought to have cursed her, and both figures have been muses and protectors throughout my life. In their honor, CISTHENE was founded in 2012. Featuring hand-crafted jewels, bath and beauty products, as well as hand-tooled leather accessories, CISTHENE honors the art of ancient crafts with modern sensibilities."