Kirsten utilizes a diverse range of materials in her work. She values the unique, uncommon, or overlooked. Showing exceptional attention to detail each piece harmoniously blends different materials into a singular aesthetic vision.
Kirsten works with local and woman-owned casting companies. The casting grain is recycled and responsibly sourced from United Precious Metal Refining, Inc., an EICC-GeSI accredited "Conflict-Free" Smelter, ensuring environmentally sustainable practices. Gold is also recycled from old jewelry and coin.
I work with all gold colors and karats but have a particular love for the custom-made 10K Yellow Gold alloy my caster creates for me. The color is a little warmer than 14K and there is just enough copper in it to be able to add the green/verdigris patina details that I adore. Gold and green, are such a rich pairing. 10K is a beautiful, lower-cost gold option for rings and earrings, especially if you have issues with oxidation on your skin from Brass or Bronze. All of my work can be made in any metal, reach out if you have questions about what’s right for you.
Luminous, cool-hued silver, a forever classic. I love the versatility of this metal, it’s stunning alone or mixed with other metals. Depending on the texture and finish of a piece, the surface can resemble a dusty grey cloud or a brilliant reflective pool. A touch of oxidation turns it black, adding incredible depth to a design. Silver jewelry has a timeless cool.
I'm drawn to the warm colors and ancient origins of brass and bronze. Pieces change over time, and they are in a symbiotic relationship with the wearer. The edges that are touched more often get brighter while the recess areas get darker, adding a beautiful depth to the work. The green and blue patinas grow and evolve, inviting exploration and discovery.
“I’m captivated by the complex patterns, inclusions, and natural beauty found in rare and unusual materials like fossilized coral, petrified wood, dinosaur bone, lava, pearls, nuts, and shells. I cut and carve some of the materials myself, and also work with small-family owned mines and stone cutters in the United States and Brazil. Quartz, ocean jasper, chalcedony, lapis, beryl emerald, and turquoise are among my favorite stones to work with.”
One of Earth’s most abundant minerals and the base for many of my favorite stones. There are dozens of quartz varieties, the main types are Macrocrystalline and Cryptocrystalline. Macrocrystalline refers to gems that have large, individual crystals, visible without magnification. They include transparent to translucent stones like Amethyst, Citrine, Smokey Quartz, and Rose Quartz. Cryptocrystalline, also known as Microcrystalline or Chalcedony, refers to gems with finely-grained, compacted crystals, so densely packed that they are barely visible with a microscope. They include translucent to opaque/milky stones such as Chalcedony, Carnelian, Onyx, Agate, and Jasper.
I’m particularly drawn to stones with an abundance of inclusions. I find clear or solid-colored stones a bit boring. Inclusions are mysterious, they draw you in. They are created when trace minerals or debris get trapped inside a gemstone as it forms and can include rutile, tourmaline, chlorite, goethite, and actinolite.
I use Rutilated Quartz often. The clusters of golden, copper, or silver needle-like strands running through the stones make gorgeous statement necklace strands and rings. I like Tourmalinated Quartz for drop earrings, as the black tourmaline strands create a striking pattern. Garden Quartz or Lodolite have shimmering bits of metallic minerals and complex intergrowths that resemble colorful gardens or underwater reefs trapped inside the clear stone.
Montana Agate features isolated black, orange, and red patterns that seem to float inside the stone. Botswana and Banded Agates have unique banded layers of color, while Lace Agate has more erratic layers that swirl and zigzag. Moss and Plume Agate contain moss-like filaments and plumes of color.
The beauty and diversity of Dendritic Agate are endlessly fascinating. They are like miniature paintings or ink drawings that look beautiful suspended in a pendant or framed in a ring. Manganese or iron oxides create magnificent fractal patterns that can resemble a single piece of algae or an entire forest of ferns. Each piece is a magical little world within the stone.
It is common for fossils to be formed through pseudomorphic replacement, wherein mineral matter takes over the remains of living organisms, and one mineral or material is gradually replaced by another. Some examples of this phenomenon are fossilized coral, ferns, petrified wood, dinosaur bone, and other organisms. The organic components of these fossils are replaced and filled with minerals like quartz, opal, calcite, or pyrite. For example, when a plant or animal perishes and gets buried in sediment, it is shielded by the sediment while mineral-rich groundwater seeps through it. Over time, these minerals replace and fill the structure of the wood or bone, preserving the exquisite grain patterns and organic structures that make them so captivating.
Jasper is an opaque variety of Chalcedony, almost always multicolored, with unique color patterns and habits - orbicular, banded, striped, and swirled. Jaspers truly capture the incredible artistry of nature itself. The wide variety of patterns resemble desert sands, red-walled canyons, or striking mountain ranges - they often mirror the landscape from which they came. Others reveal abstract paintings, fields of poppies, the night sky, or deep ocean currents. I love using pairs of Ocean Jasper in earrings when I find pieces that are cut from the same stone, so the orbicular patterns and beautiful colorways are mirrored. Royal Imperial Jasper and Willow Creek have some of the most gorgeous colors and overlapping egg patterns. Porcelain, Poppy, Noreena, Landscape, and Snakeskin Jaspers are often featured in my long necklace strands, showcasing the beauty and diversity of each material.
Like the earth and the sky, the color of turquoise spans every imaginable shade of blue and green. Turquoise injects vibrant color and energy into the work and I’m drawn to the deep green pieces with prominent patches or webs of matrix. The matrix consists of iron, zinc, copper, or pyrite and can help associate a stone with the specific mine where it was found.
Natural blue minerals are rare and I believe that’s why Lapis and Turquoise are so cherished around the world. Lapis Lazuli is mainly made up of the mineral Lazurite, with additional minerals like white Calcite and sparkling gold flecks of Pyrite. Prized for its intense blue color, which can vary from a deep royal blue with golden flecks to a lighter blue with more noticeable white flecks. This stone's rich, celestial shade brings depth and provides a striking contrast to the golden components of my work.
Timeless emblems of elegance and purity - a beautiful sentiment - and of course, I prefer the interesting, funky, and strange ones. I look for pearls with unique colors, shapes, and distinctive surfaces that include bumps, ridges, and ripples. Celebrate the unusual and unconventional.
Tiger's Eye is known for its striking chatoyancy, which is the luminous iridescent streaks of reflected light it displays. Scholars believe that it is a pseudomorph of Quartz that formed when layers of fibrous Crocidolite were replaced by Chalcedony Quartz. Another theory suggests that the minerals grew simultaneously through a crack-seal vein-filling process. In either case, the iron from the decomposed Crocidolite oxidized to a rich golden brown color, and the reflection of light on the fibers produces the iridescent chatoyant quality.
Volcanic rock, also known as igneous rock, originates from the molten magma expelled by a volcano. It holds a prominent presence among the various rock types found on the Earth's surface. This type of rock exhibits a unique vesicular texture, characterized by the presence of numerous cavities known as vesicles, both on its surface and within its structure.
I work with a local wood-turner to shape nuts like Betel Nut, Tagua, Forest Bismark, Piassaba, Jessenia Palm, Raffia Palm, Nubian, and Stilt Root Palm into cabochons so I can set them in jewelry. These sustainably harvested nuts, known as "vegetable ivory," are gathered from various palm tree species.
I love working with clients to reimagine unworn family heirlooms or create custom pieces using their old gold and stones. I also have a beautiful collection of vintage stones, glass and metal buttons, mother-of-pearl belt buckles, and shells - together we can give new life to these materials in a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry.
“Handcrafted objects tell a story, not only about the maker but also the wearer. My jewelry showcases process, technique, and tradition. Hopefully, that story reminds people about the connection between every set of hands along the chain. You can feel the value and integrity in thoughtfully made things.“