Lisa George (Photo by Sara Hanna Photography; Clothing by Tootsies)

By Kitsy Rose

In June 2006, Lisa George heard the words from her doctor: “You have breast cancer.” Prior to this life-altering sentence, which would indeed change her life forever, George was on top of the world living a successful life as a top radio salesperson, a career she had loved since 1992. She was making a six-figure income, driving a Porsche and had built her dream home in Buckhead. George’s diagnosis was stage one and she chose to treat it with a single mastectomy.

George recovered and went back to work at a different radio station with a new format and colleagues. She was enjoying the challenge, but then the economic downturn hit in 2008. George experienced a loss of income and change in lifestyle as many people did during the recession.

Five years after her diagnosis, George found herself depressed and looking for a way to improve her mood. She left work early one day and visited a local bead shop and brought along a vintage cross and crystals given to her by her grandmother and green jade from her mother. George sat down and made a necklace, inspired by images she had seen in a fashion magazine.

When she met girlfriends for dinner, they raved over the necklace and couldn’t believe that George had made it herself. One friend had read about a contest called “In Search of the Perfect Necklace” and encouraged George to enter. She did and won.

Soon, George’s friends were asking her to create pieces for them to wear or give as gifts. By 2012, George landed her first boutique, Sandpiper in Vinings, and L. George Design was born.

George left her radio career and began designing jewelry and naming the pieces after friends who had supported her along the way. She has become known for using mixed metals and Swarovski crystals for her “statement” jewelry, which includes not only necklaces, but earrings and bracelets, too.

Then, in November of last year, George discovered a routine check up that cancer had been detected in her other breast. She again decided to have a mastectomy. She completed reconstructive surgery in the spring and hopes cancer is now in her past.

In the meanwhile, L. George Designs has grown and can now be found in more than 200 boutiques in the U.S. and Canada. That random bad day and a trip to a local bead shop has turned into a shinier, rewarding second act.

For more about Lisa George’s jewelry, visit lgeorgedesigns.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.