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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.”

Inner Fire Pendant


Inner Fire Pendant


Inner Fire Pendant


As a Chickasaw metal smith, I seek to bring the power and beauty of our southeastern homelands into my contemporary metal work. The 'Inner Fire Pendant' was created to protect and contain the bone pin carved with a spider, a southeastern symbol of deep cultural significance. See below for the full story on the significance of this piece.


The spider is adorned with the four directions on it's back because it was the one animal which succeeded in bringing the gift of fire to humanity. The combination of Silver and copper throughout the piece represents the culturally significant concept of duality and balance, and the three center ribs that contain the bone carving represent the three worlds: the sky, earth, and underwater worlds. The pierced out branching pattern on the front silver piece is a pattern seen throughout the natural world: in rivers snaking across a landscape, in tree branches, in veins in plants and animals, and in butterfly wings. It also references how family history, knowledge, and culture flows through each generation. On a personal level, the combination of copper and silver is symbolic of my family line: multiple generations of people of Chickasaw, Choctaw, and European descent. The story of my ancestors reveals a history of Chickasaw and European tension and union. This history is further complicated with issues of race, class, and mixed cultural identities. The story of families of both Indigenous and European descent is common yet silent and when examined, reveals much about the American race and identity politics. The layers of metal are intricately engineered to create a dynamic and engaging visual discussion between each part of the whole piece.


This piece is created with silver and copper.


Coming Soon.



Handmade in Los Angeles

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