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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.”

Panther Studs in Rose Gold

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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.

Panther Studs in Rose Gold

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sold out

Panther Studs in Rose Gold

160.00

Crouching atop wing cut cabochon black onyx stones are tiny hand carved panthers waiting to pounce.  Surrounding the settings is a carved water design element to represent the river ways of the Chickasaw homelands in the southeast.

 

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.

Handmade in Los Angeles

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