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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.”

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The Shokmalli' Collection

Kristen Dorsey

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My second collection, the Shokmalli' collection, explores celestial themes within Chickasaw culture.  Throughout the design process, my muse was the sky serpent, a being depicted in carved shell objects by the southeastern ancestors of my tribal affiliation the Chickasaw Nation.   The sky serpent is a powerful deity who is depicted in shell jewelry artifacts as a snake-like creature with wings.  The sky serpent controls the winds, rains, thunder and lightning.  In this collection, the sky serpent is visually interpreted through my use of the southeastern wind spiral design, and a color palate of soft blue for the sky and rose gold and yellow for the sun.  The collection also features materials that carry cultural value such as shell.  The innovative shell composite material, which is an environmentally friendly alternative to mother of pearl, symbolizes the wide use of shell in traditional southeastern Native American adornment. Shell was a favorite jewelry material with my ancestors due to it’s pearlescent shimmer which reflects the light of the sun.  The collection also reflects the many facets of the Sky Serpent ranging from soft to bold.  From a delicate pendant design, to a bold one-of-a-kind statement neck piece of inlayed stingrey skin, the designs capture both the ethereal beauty of a celestial being, as well as it’s immense power, qualities that each piece brings to the wearer.

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