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Office of Disability Employment Policy

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Elaine Robnett Moore — Jewelry Designer and Educator

Elaine Robnett MooreElaine Robnett Moore's jewelry illustrates her outlook on life. "Nothing is a mistake, everything has a purpose, everything is perfect in its own way," she says. "You may have to look a little harder to see it, but it's there."

Elaine is an accomplished jewelry designer whose pieces blend beads and other elements, such as natural wood and fibers, rocks and shells, and pieces of bottle glass and unusual shapes of metal. According to her, whatever is found on life's pathways can be made beautiful with the right combination. "I find some of the best things to work with are the treasures that I convert to beads that others would throw away," she says. "The challenge is to see the beauty in it."

Elaine, who has arthritis, has been designing jewelry for more than 20 years, and her pieces, each one unique, are worn by women across the country and the globe. Her business acumen also spans the world — as an international development consultant, she teaches women in West Africa and the Caribbean how jewelry-making skills can better their lives through micro-business development. She also conducts workshops with low-income women within the United States.

Before dedicating herself to jewelry making full time, Elaine was a business consultant, travel agency owner and real estate broker. During those years, she enjoyed beading only as a hobby. When friends encouraged her to sell her pieces, she pursued the challenge and succeeded in selling pieces to the gift shop at the National Museum of African Art and other Smithsonian Institutions.

As she ages, Elaine is adjusting her working methods to accommodate her arthritis. She tries to do less of those things that aggravate the condition outside of jewelry making and also has someone assist her with knotting. She also suffers from migraines and carpal tunnel syndrome, though she refuses to let them slow her down. "It's not about what you can't do, it's about what you can and want to do — and doing it," she says.

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