Her colorful handmade necklaces, bracelets and earrings never cease to draw interest from admirers. But when it comes to the signature creations of Delray Beach jewelry designer Dawn DeMarco-Book, there is more to each piece than meets the eye.

The one-time national sales manager for a boutique jewelry company in New York began designing (primarily enamel) products more than a decade ago, but the start-up effort, by her own admission, lacked focus and drive. She ultimately would find inspiration in the spirit of a teenager fighting for her life.

DeMarco-Book’s niece, Rosie, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 1999. She would lose her battle June 3, 2003—at age 14. Along the way, Rosie’s indomitable will touched her aunt the same way it impacted her friends and family in California.

“She was amazing; she was the kind of girl who, at a school dance, danced with the boys no one wanted to dance with [so they wouldn’t feel left out],” DeMarco-Book says. “Three weeks before her death, she earned straight As [on her report card]. She didn’t want anyone to treat her differently. ...

“A few years earlier, she was healthy enough to travel and her wish was to come to Disney World. She had the bandana, no hair, no eyebrows—and I could see her fighting for her life. Who was I to make excuses for [what was happening in my life]?”

DeMarco-Book would honor her niece—and celebrate Rosie’s love of fashion with a sparkle—by creating Sparkle of Life, a line of jewelry that incorporates Swarovski crystal, semiprecious stones, Venetian beads and much more.

However, Rosie’s influence on the pieces DeMarco-Book designs out of her Delray home doesn’t end there. A percentage of the proceeds of each purchase goes to the customer’s charity of choice.

“Initially we wanted to give a dollar per purchase, but now we give a percentage of every sale and it’s a minimum of 10 percent,” DeMarco-Book says. “[To date], we’ve raised over $40,000 for charity.

“I always tell people it’s not really about the jewelry, even though that’s my gift from God. It’s about how Rosie touched my life."

For more information—and to view product—visit sparkleoflife.com.