For 17 years, Christine Cooper Hill sat at the same design table at the Diamond Cellar working on custom jewelry creations for customers.

For 17 years, Christine Cooper Hill sat at the same design table at the Diamond Cellar working on custom jewelry creations for customers.

Now, she sits at the same table in her Clintonville basement crafting her own jewelry line, which is carried by the store.

"After years of being stuck at a three-foot bench, I needed a change," Hill said. "It's just a matter of variety."

So about 18 months ago, Hill, who has a degree in fine arts from the Columbus College of Art and Design, handed her resignation to her boss so she could begin designing on her own.

Instead of letting her go, Hill's boss offered her a coveted case in the Diamond Cellar show room on Sawmill Road to showcase her original designs.

"I can't say enough how many big brands would love to be in that store, and he was willing to take a chance on me," Hill said.

Six months later, Hill had her display set up. Her pieces sold so well, the Diamond Cellar gave her a case at its Easton location.

"I did have to prove that things would sell, or I wouldn't still be there," she said.

Hill said she draws her inspiration from arts-and-crafts antiques that she and her husband buy.

Her jewelry, mostly in sterling silver and smooth, semiprecious stones, features simple lines, many of which are twisted in a way that suggest things found in nature. Many of the designs are inspired by arts-and-crafts jewelry or fabric patterns.

Hill said she enjoys working with silver and semiprecious stones because it keeps her jewelry in a more affordable price range.

Toned-down non-faceted stones, such as turquoise, malachite, carnelian and onyx, also appeal more to Hill's taste.

"Even though I'm into jewelry, I'm not that into bling," she said.

When designing pieces, Hill creates a prototype that she then sends to a company, which makes a rubber mold and manufactures the individual pieces that will make up the final item of jewelry.

The company sends those rough pieces to Hill to smooth down and link together. In her collection for the Diamond Cellar, she creates mostly limited edition pieces, meaning she constantly has to come up with new ideas to fill her case.

"It forces me to start thinking ahead," Hill said.

Eventually, Hill said she hopes to sell her own collection of jewelry to other stores, both in Columbus and other cities.

She also works part-time in her old job at the Diamond Cellar, helping customers who are seeking custom-design pieces.

And though it was boredom that led Hill to venture away from her design table at the Diamond Cellar, she didn't venture too far from her roots.

"They just redid the store. I bought the bench -- it's right there," Hill said, pointing to the corner of her basement design studio.