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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.”

The Panther Gorget

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The Hatchet Women Collection - Indigenous Resistance Since 1736

As Chickasaw women, we have always protected and defended our lands from invaders.  During the French – Indian wars of the 1700's our ancestors saw violence and uncertainty enter their lives.  However, they soon became known to the French as formidable adversaries; their villages nearly impossible to attack.  This was due in part to iron hatchet wielding Chickasaw women, who according to first hand French accounts, thwarted an ambush on the Ogoula Tchetoka village in 1736.  The French were also surprised to see that women could become warriors, and that women were as essential to war as they were to peace, often accompanying warriors into battle to sing war songs and to provide direction and support.  

Today we wield knowledge instead of hatchets, however, we are no less fierce than our grandmothers, and will pass on this gift of strength to our granddaughters.

The Panther Gorget

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sold out

The Panther Gorget

from 660.00

*Available at the Peabody Essex Museum and The Autry Museum.

Striking 24k panthers stalk their prey in the darkness of the night on the panther gorget.  One of the most striking forms of native southeastern jewelry is the gorget.  The gorget is a crescent shape necklace traditionally worn by tribal leaders.  The original gorget in this piece was crafted by Kristen Dorsey using the ancient southeastern metal-working tradition of relief sculpture.  Today this technique is called chasing and repoussé which means to re-push in the French language.  It is a labor intensive process of working the metal from both sides to create free-form relief sculpture without the use of molds or templates.  This panther gorget was molded from the original chased and repoussé piece and is cast in solid sterling silver.  The panther sculptures are then highlighted with 24k gold fused to the surface.  The background is darkened with a hand painted patina and the center is set with labradorite.  

 

Lethally beautiful and mysterious, the panther is an important clan animal in Chickasaw Culture.  Koishto ‘ iksa’ is Panther Clan in the Chickasaw language.  Koishto iksa is a leadership family group and is part of the Chickasaw social clan system.  They were frequently depicted in shell and stone carvings as the underwater panther, a powerful being who’s domain was the under world accessed through lakes and river-ways.  For me this top predator represents the power and beauty of the Chickasaw homelands in the southeast.  Today the southeastern panthers are listed as endangered due to loss of habitat.   They are a reminder to us that we must actively preserve these valuable ecosystems for future generations.

Approximate Total Labradorite carat weight: 2.5

Approximate Total Moonstone carat weight: 3

Approximate Total Aquamarine carat weight: 2.5

Longest: 20

Shortest: 16.5

 

Stone type:
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