About Us

Meet the Artist- Crista Grasso

Artist Statement

The world that Mother Nature created has always intrigued me… with the beautiful combination of textures and colors and light.  Creating jewelry is just one of the many ways to capture some of that beauty and transform it into wearable art.

I have been making jewelry since I was a child and although my designs today look much different from my childhood creations, I still love working with many of the same natural stones and materials that initially drew me to jewelry design.  It is a great medium to combine my love of nature and art with the excitement of creating something beautiful with my hands.

Artist Bio

Crista Grasso studied art at both Massachusetts College of Art and The University of Connecticut and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of CT. 

She is always challenging herself to learn and perfect new techniques and takes numerous classes throughout New England each year.  She also loves to share the skills she has learned with others and teaches jewelry making classes in galleries across CT and at her studio in Willington, CT.  

20090724-mg-2887.jpgCrista greatly enjoys helping other artists turn their passion into sustainable businesses and teaches classes in Northeastern CT and offers individual and group mentoring.  She is dedicated to supporting handmade and encouraging people to pursue their passions!  

Crista is a founding member of the Visionary Women’s Group of CT who hosts an annual “Gardens, Gallery & Gifts” fine art show each June.

AmberTortoise- Our Name and History

turtle-only-8000-pixels-high.jpgAmberTortoise is a name that was given to me in 2004 in a Native American inspired naming ceremony.  Those that selected the name chose it partially because of my love of amber, turtles and tortoises and partially because of what each of those 2 elements represent.

To me, being given this name represented a new chapter of my life- the beginning of an exciting journey that could be anything I wanted it to be…  and what I I wanted was to transition out of my career in the corporate environment to pursuing my passion and lifelong dream of being a jewelry designer. 

What had been a hobby up to that point quickly became an obsession, then a business, and now my life… and I couldn’t be happier!  AmberTortoise seemed like the perfect name for my jewelry boutique.  I hope you love the jewelry you find here as much as I love designing, selecting or creating every single piece.

About the Jewelry

AmberTortoise Jewelry offers 4 distinct jewelry collections: Natural Elegance, Ever After Bridal Jewelry, Copper Elegance and Enchanted Garden.  Each piece is personally designed and handcrafted by Crista Grasso in her Tolland, CT studio.  Styles range from bold statement pieces to delicate every day designs and include necklaces, bracelets, earrings, anklets, barefoot sandals, rings, hair sticks and pins.

Each heirloom-quality piece of jewelry is crafted from sterling silver or copper and the finest quality gemstones and materials Mother Nature has to offer.

“My goal is to create beautiful, unique, timeless jewelry that reflects the personality and characteristics of the individual who wears it!”

About the Creative Process

“My designs are inspired by so many things, but primarily by the beads themselves and by the wonderful color combinations and textures surrounding me in nature.”

Sometimes I go into the creative process with a particular design in mind, but I am usually inspired by the beads themselves.  Particular colors, shapes and cuts of stones will often dictate the design and the technique.

I combine a variety of techniques in my designs, including beading, wire wrapping, metalsmithing and hand-forming pieces through the use of Precious Metal Clay (PMC).   I strive to keep each piece unique, and recognizable as an AmberTortoise creation.

AmberTortoise In the Media

AmberTortoise Jewelry has been featured in many published articles, magazines, radio and television broadcasts, including:

Television and Radio:


  Bead Trends Magazine   Horizons

Blogs and Online Venues:

How AmberTortoise Gives Back 

Being Green
While “Going Green” seems to be a buzz phrase these days, it is a way of doing business for us.  AmberTortoise is very environmentally conscious and is always looking for new ways to further reduce, reuse and recycle.
What We Do

  • All AmberTortoise Jewelry packaging is made from recycled materials and it is all recyclable.  This includes our business cards, our custom logo gift boxes, and the beautiful gift bags and tissue paper you receive if you visit us at our studio, local Fine Art Shows and Gallery Exhibits.
  • We do our best to reduce the number of orders we place with our suppliers.  This requires a little extra work on our part and careful watch of our inventory levels, but it is worth it.
  • From environmentally friendly paint on the walls to the cleaners we use, our studio is as green as can be
  • In addition, AmberTortoise Jewelry is proud to support the following environmental organizations each year: 
Click here to learn ways you can be more green!

AmberTortoise supports women from all around the world who are are trying to grow their “handmade” businesses.  We participate in Micro-Lending through Kiva and Novica Artisan Loans and seek out women with a creative background who are in need of micro-loans.  
Microfinance is the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. Studies show that women invest in their family and their community and that by helping women grow their business, it tends to improve not only their lives, but the lives of their families and the communities they are a part of.  
We have supported women in many countries, including the US, Cambodia, Equador, the Philippines and Peru, from jewelry designers to bakers to clothing makers.  We want to see these women thrive and keep their unique culture alive through their craft.  Such a small amount of money can make such a huge difference, and we love seeing the success of each of the women we invest in.  Feel free to check us out on Kiva!


Visit our online jewelry boutique at www.ambertortoise.com.