Play of Fire

Meet Jennifer Kalled, jeweler extraordinaire from Wolfeboro

Jennifer Kalled is an extraordinary jeweler. Her work seems like something you’d uncover on a secret dig along the Nile or perhaps find beneath some deeply canopied ruins in the Peruvian jungle. Her pieces hold a talismanic power to those who choose them, radiating sensuality yet unaffected by their own intrinsic beauty. She works in gold of the highest purities and chooses her stones carefully, often opals that she has selected and likely mined by herself in the Outback of Australia. Visitors to her Wolfeboro studio are dazzled and seduced by truly unique works of art designed to be worn.

Done Canvas Sharpjennifer Retouch Brilwarm 1624

  • In 1978, Phoenix, Arizona, was when and where I took my first metalsmithing class. I had two teachers; one was a Native American and the other a Buddhist hippie.
  • Southwestern jewelry is very stone driven, so my pieces reflected that. Really, for me, it has always been about the gems, less about the metal.
  • There is nothing quite like creating something with your hands, and, if one is artistically inclined, you can express yourself through what you create, whatever medium that may be.
  • You need to be a very good listener to yourself. I’m a cormorant rather than a skimmer bird. I dive.
  • My hope is that a client spends time “looking” at a piece, wondering why they are attracted to it.
  • Art forms are just a snapshot, a small take of something larger.
  • I would be happy as a writer, poet, sculptor, musician, etc. … just as long as I could get the fire out of me, and feel like I’m contributing to someone else’s selfhood/we-hood.
  • I prefer boulder opal to the “white opal” that one finds in estate jewelry. Boulder opal is much stronger because it is found in the matrix of ironstone. It’s a little harder than turquoise.
  • My attraction to opal is because of the colors, diversity in pattern, and the play of fire. That trinity of tools is not measurable. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, if you will.
  • The Egyptians believed that it was the luckiest gem, and that all gems were born from Mother Opal. The gods tipped the opal and the colors poured out and created other gems such as sapphire, diamonds, tourmaline, spinel, etc.
  • Opal: like the box of 144 crayons that you got when you are a child. It is breathtaking.
  • I do have a home in Santa Fe too. I love it there. The adobe architecture feels primitive, like one has journeyed back in time.
  • I actually do work with many other stones, like drusy quartz, which is the inside of a geode. I also work with petrified wood, the negatives of ammonite (which basically is petrified mud), diamonds, sapphires, spinels … all the usual beauties.
  • Art jewelry allows one to create whatever, use whatever one might wish. How perfect is that!
  • I like to think that my works transcend anything that is considered craft and moves into the realm of fine art. Wearable sculpture.

Living Stones

800px 8ct Lightning Ridge Black OpalOpal is worth so much because of its unique play-of-color phenomenon, which cannot be observed in any other gemstone. Opal is so costly because every stone has its exclusive pattern. No two opals are the same. All these distinctions reminded Jennifer Kalled that the same comments made about her favorite gemstone could be made about the people who bought and inspired them.

“My inspirations can come from the books I read, music, the places I travel, myth stories, and the play of structure and chaos, etc.” So she decided to create a collection based on lives of other artists. “I needed to feel the group I belonged to, so I chose biographies on other artists, like Sylvia Plath, Leonard Cohen, Beryl Markham, Isak Dinesen, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Steve Jobs, Virginia Wolfe, Lou Salomé, Friedrich Nietzsche, Vaclav Havel, to name some. I approached it from the position of, what colors would these individuals be if they were a color, and went from there.” When Kalled’s father passed away, she says,” I designed a piece that was about him, and because of that piece, have designed pieces similarly for others.” —

Categories: People