By Brecken Branstrator
Tara Hutchinson is the designer behind Tara Hutch Fine Jewelry and winner of the WJA 2016 Female Veteran Grant. She now is trying to raise $12,000 to fund a 10-piece collection to honor fallen female soldiers.
San Antonio--One jewelry designer and Iraq veteran aims to honor fallen female soldiers with a brand-new jewelry collection.

Tara Hutchinson, founder of Tara Hutch Fine Jewelry and winner of the Women’s Jewelry Association’s 2016 Female Veteran Grant, wants to give back to the mourning families of the women veterans who lost their lives by creating jewelry that tells their stories.

As of 2015, more than 160 female U.S. military members had been killed in post-9/11 conflict, either in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom campaigns, according to The Washington Post.

“That’s 160 moms, daughters, sisters, and wives who will never come home to their families,” Hutchinson said. “That’s 160 empty seats at the dinner table, and countless memories and moments that stopped being made the moments their loved ones stopped living. These jarring statistics inspired me to create something that will ensure these women will never be forgotten, and their sacrifices were not made in vain.”

“In Memoriam” will be a 10-piece collection, with each piece honoring one woman. To create the jewelry, Hutchinson will reach out to families of the fallen through the organizations like Fallen Female Warriors and Women Killed in Action from Post 9/11 Combat.

She will use information, like their birthstones, favorite colors and the types of jewelry they wore to create 10 pieces of jewelry that represent the lives and memories of women soldiers.”

“I want each piece to be distinctive to the extent it seems as if it was created for her by her,” she said.

To fund the line, Hutchinson has a page on crowdfunding site Hatchfund, where she aims to raise $12,000 to cover raw materials and costs for the labor and expenses related to producing and promoting the collection.

She has until Dec. 2 to raise at least $8,000 for the project to be funded.

Ten percent of the proceeds of each piece sold will go to one of two options. If the family has a memorial website for the fallen soldier, the money will be donated there. If not, the funds will be donated to a nonprofit organization of the family’s choice.

Hutchinson also told National Jeweler that she will replicate the piece if it is sold, and after Memorial Day 2017 that piece will be donated to the family as a piece with which they can remember their loved one.

After the collection is created, Hutchinson said she would like to take the pieces on a tour to jewelry stores and galleries across the country, culminating in an exhibition at San Antonio’s Witte Museum for Veterans Day (November) 2017.

Hutchinson is an Iraq veteran and wounded warrior herself. While she was deployed to Iraq in 2006 as a military police officer for the Army, an explosive device severed her right leg, causing significant blood loss that led to severe limb movement disorder, third-degree burns, permanent back injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Hutchinson started making jewelry after an occupational therapist suggested trying a hobby that might help her regain control in her hands.

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