Walking through LMU’s weekly Wellness Wednesday, students are bombarded with the smell of fresh food and produce, surrounded by the sounds of a lively student body. Wellness Wednesday continues to be a highlight of student life. One of the most esteemed vendors at Wellness Wednesday stays tucked in a corner surrounded by taco tents and candle vendors–Sonem Dolma’s handmade jewelry tent.
Located near St. Robert’s Hall, this dark blue tent carries rows of colorful earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and crystals. Dolma’s tent has been a staple at Wellness Wednesday for years. Dolma has been a jewelry designer and curator for over 20 years- she shares her passion for jewelry with LMU students.
“I love it here. I’ve been here since the beginning,” Dolma said. “Many years. I love seeing all of the kids, the dialogue they have with each other. I love talking to them. All of the kids are so wonderful.”
Dolma’s passion for crafting her own jewelry started when discovering a bead store in Inglewood. She soon found a connection with the owner, and she began to learn the art of beading from him.
“I met a Tibetan guy, I’m also Tibetan. He made jewelry and he had a shop in Inglewood,” Dolma said. “That was 20 years ago. I used to do beading, and I met him, and then I took a sort of class from him. I then started coming in every Monday. I come into his shop every Monday, and I studied how to make jewelry there for 13 years.”
In addition to Dolma’s Wellness Wednesday stand, she also showcases her beading talent at the UCLA Flea Market and Westchester Farmers Market. At each stop, Dolma emphasizes the work and care put into crafting handmade jewelry.
“Most of my things I make here myself. Many of my earrings–you will only find one each. [They’re] one of a kind,” Dolma said. “My pieces are handmade, made out of real crystals, shells, gemstones, or many different things.”
Dolma also offers custom made pieces, requested specifically by customers. Dolma creates these pieces for special events, crafting jewelry based off of a color scheme or material that the customer requests.
“When I get new customers who want custom pieces, I get to learn how to do different things and make new jewelry, which is always fun,” Dolma said.
Junior Melissa Johnson has purchased multiple pieces from Dolma, and has found a connection and appreciation for her craft. “She definitely is the main reason that I go to Wellness [Wednesday],” Johnson said. “I always look forward to seeing her new pieces.”
Since her sophomore year, Johnson has purchased two handmade beaded necklaces and a pair of earrings from Dolma. “My favorite piece from her is this light brown beaded necklace,” she said. “It looks so classy and I wear it all the time.”
As a regular customer, visiting Dolma’s stand every Wednesday, Johnson finds she looks forward to talking with Dolma and continuing to get to know her. “I love seeing her every Wednesday.” Johnson stated. “She just has the best energy, and she’s always down for a great conversation.”
Dolma’s unique pieces and friendly demeanor continues to attract students, despite the large crowds. “Since I have to leave my house early to get to Wellness [Wednesday] and fight for a parking spot, it does not usually seem that appealing,” Johnson stated. “Her stand makes it so worth it.”