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716 S. Los Angeles St.
Los Angeles, CA
USA

(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.”

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Panther Woman Hair Comb

Kristen Dorsey

Panther Woman Hair Comb: Fine silver, 14k, Diamond, Labradorite.  Price upon request.

Panther Woman Hair Comb: Fine silver, 14k, Diamond, Labradorite.  Price upon request.

Chickasaw families are organized into clan systems.  The Panther was an important Clan symbol and remains significant to many aspects of Chickasaw culture today.  It was understandable how our ancestors would have revered these powerful feline hunters of the southeast who are now endangered due to the loss of their habitat of southern swamplands and forests.   In the ancient mississippian cosmology, the underwater panther being was associated with the under world which is the world below the surface of the water.  

My hair comb is completely hand fabricated using the chasing and repousse´method and depicts two powerful panthers stalking their prey through the lacy swirls of a southeastern river. The diamonds set in 14k yellow gold glint like the moonlight on the surface of the water while a watery moon of labradorite rises above.  

The panther is also significant to women.  The Chickasaw people are matrilineal and strong female leaders are prevalent throughout Chickasaw History.  The panther is a female symbol and there is a historical female warrior and battle strategist called Panther Woman who's story has been passed down from generation to generation. In this video, Chickasaw illustrator and Director of the Chickasaw Press Jeannie Barbour tells the story of panther woman and how her battle strategies helped the Chickasaw successfully attack the ruthless conquistador Hernando De Soto and his encampment in order to remove them from Chickasaw territory.

http://www.chickasaw.tv/search/video/panther-woman-battle-strategist?q=panther%20woman

Summer buying appointments - View the jewelry collection and studio!

Kristen Dorsey

Ahhh yes, summer is here and in full swing! The days are getting longer and the nights are getting warmer and you are probably planning your summer outfits for beautiful weddings and relaxed vacations.  Our one summer stye tip is to never leave home without your jewelry!  Our showroom/design studio has just been arranged to showcase our favorite pieces for the season.  If you are in the Los Angeles area, contact us at info@kristendorseydesigns.com to make a private appointment to try on and select the perfect pieces for your summer style.  We also specialize in custom orders.  Make a consultation appointment and we will design the custom one-of-a-kind piece of your dreams. 

Beautiful jewelry vignettes + fresh flowers in the showroom.

Beautiful jewelry vignettes + fresh flowers in the showroom.

Delicate moonstone and silver earrings + a lovely cluster of champagne diamond barnacle rings.

Rose gold cuffs and earrings.

Rose gold cuffs and earrings.

One of a kind pieces in fine silver, stingray skin, larimar, black diamond, and black onyx.

One of a kind pieces in fine silver, stingray skin, larimar, black diamond, and black onyx.

The conflict-free diamond barnacle collection.

The conflict-free diamond barnacle collection.

The Banner Stone pendant and earrings + the Moundville ring in rose gold.

The Banner Stone pendant and earrings + the Moundville ring in rose gold.

Crafting a Statement Ring...At the Jeweler's Bench

Kristen Dorsey

Sometimes my most inspired pieces are created when I let the unique qualities of the materials be my guide.  As a metalsmith, the possibilities of construction and design are only limited by my imagination.  Often, my most creative pieces are designed with a general concept at first, but soon take their own shape as I piece them together and discover design solutions to make the piece both aesthetically pleasing and functional.  The Stingray ring was inspired by the Stingray Collar, an extravagant statement neck piece which I designed and constructed with the same type of process.  Both pieces take on an otherworldly aesthetic and play with concepts of wings and flight.  This ring was showcased for the first time at the Los Angeles Fashion Council's Los Angeles Fashion Week Press Presentation on March 12, 2014 in Downtown Los Angeles.  

I love sketching my concepts on graph paper, I will then cut out the actual shapes from graph paper and tape them to the metal that needs to be sawed out.  I also work out the many steps of the creation process through notations on my sketches.  

I love sketching my concepts on graph paper, I will then cut out the actual shapes from graph paper and tape them to the metal that needs to be sawed out.  I also work out the many steps of the creation process through notations on my sketches.  

The ring half way through the construction process.  The wings have been formed using chasing and repoussé, and the main stone setting has been fabricated.

The ring in the final stages... The fabrication and soldering is complete, the stingray skin is fit and glued in, and the final polishing and refining of the bezel will be completed. 

The completed statement ring at the jeweler's bench

A detail of the ring on a model at the Los Angeles Fashion Council Press Event during Los Angeles Fashion Week.  The model also wears the Sky Serpent Cuff in Black Rhodium.

Model wearing the stingray collar and ring
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Statement ring in the succulents