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716 S. Los Angeles St.
Los Angeles, CA

(310) 489-3763

Kristen Dorsey Designs, LLC was founded in 2011 by Kristen Dorsey, an award-winning Chickasaw metalsmith living and working in Huntington Beach, CA. For Kristen, jewelry goes beyond ornamental adornment; it is a medium with which she has forged her cultural identity as a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, a Native American tribe originally from the southeast.  Utilizing natural gemstones, precious metals, and other materials, her handcrafted jewelry pieces are a unique mix of Chickasaw visual traditions infused with inspiration drawn from the beauty of the California Coast.  Dorsey’s philosophy is that “jewelry is a sacred narrative; it captures moments of significance for the wearer such as transitions in life, relationships with one another, and with one’s community, cultural identity, and spirituality.”

About Our Collections

Stories of inspiration and meaning. Collections of beauty and significance.

 

Of Earth and Place

 
 

Place is central to indigenous identities. Our Chickasaw ancestors lost their place in the 1830s when forced to leave their lands and travel the Longest Walk to Oklahoma. Now our people are reconnecting to the land of our ancestors.

This collection honors the plants cultivated by our ancestors for thousands of years to provide nourishment and medicine to our people, and interprets Chickasaw concepts of place and environment through my personal experiences. While the place of my birth is Los Angeles, my dreams are of the Chickasaw homelands in the southeast. This collection combines the plants of those homelands with the Art Deco lines I love.

With this collection I honor the traditional knowledge of our ancestors and the place we will forever call home.

 

The Panther Woman Collection

 
 

This collection celebrates the tradition of female leadership and strength in the Chickasaw Nation. From generation to generation, our women have defended our people. Our female leaders fought tirelessly for their communities against the violent Europeans in the 1500s and against starvation and disease during the Longest Walk (also known as the trail of tears.

 

The Panther is a symbol of our homelands. It is the top predator native to our homelands in the southeast and it’s image is found on shell adornment carved by our ancestors. In our oral tradition, the Panther Woman is a heroine whose leadership defended her village against violent Spaniards.

 

The pieces in this collection are inspired by ancient shell carvings of the panther. Detailed panthers and shield shapes are accented with twinkling diamonds to represent the night sky alongside iridescent moonstone and labradorite symbolizing the magic and mystery of the panther’s lair.

 

Each piece draws on the imagery found in ancient adornment, creating a type of jeweled armor and weaponry fit for today’s female warriors. Never conquered, always fearless - are you a Panther Woman?

 

The Shokmalli’ Collection

Within Chickasaw culture there is a powerful deity in the skies. It is a beautiful celestial being, called the sky serpent, but it also has immense power to control the winds, rains, thunder and lightning.

 

With this collection I echo the fluidity and grace of this being while boldly capturing its immense power. The sky serpent is both a gentle spring breeze and a terrifying lightning storm uprooting trees and toppling buildings. She controls the movement of the planets, seductive as a moonlight night and can turn in an instant from a life-giving rain to a powerful storm.

"Shokmalli' Collection look book

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