2009 BARACK OBAMA MAN OF THE YEAR SOUVENIR FESTOON SUITE WITH A NOD TO HOWARD FINSTER of sterling silver, argentium sterling silver, low oxygen sterling, fine silver, copper, brass, eighteen karat gold, shakudo, shibuichi, amethyst, druzy quartz, Turbo petholatus Linnaeus 1758 operculum, 2010. Photograph by Dan Fox, Lumina Studio.
Nadine Kariya

Spiraling Arabesques




“The evolution of my work has been helical – as in a helix – not linear,” states Kariya. “I seem to always revisit old themes but add a new variation as my experience grows.

Cosmically speaking, Nadine Kariya surely descends from generations of master metalsmiths who kept queens in matchless jewelry. What other explanation is there for Kariya’s skill at creating such dazzling, labor-intensive pieces as Plum Blossom Bracelet #1, made in 2006? Ornate yet elegant, nearly two inches in height, the cuff is a silver-based canvas on which Kariya fused flower designs in a rainbow of eighteen karat gold tones from greenish yellow to metallic peach, also adding the copper-based alloy shakudo and rose-cut diamonds. The stylized blossoms suggest the floral patterns on Japanese kimonos. Details were added with soldering, chasing and repoussé, and the bracelet opens with a hinge and clasp.

Kariya made Plum Blossom Bracelet, and then later its two companion bracelets, Savage Plant World and White Nightflower, partly because one of her regular collectors expressed an interest in new bracelets and partly as a learning project. She had recently taken a workshop on surface embellishment and had also learned how to make shakudo, a copper and gold alloy, and shibuichi, a copper and silver alloy. The bracelet project, she says, “evolved from my wanting to try out all the things I’d been learning about fusing different colors and still maintaining the integrity of each color. I also like to have an elevation of the appliqué, and I was trying to preserve that on Plum Blossom.” Kariya considers herself a colorist, and wanted the three bracelets to “extend the palette of the usual silvers and golds.”




More Nadine Kariya jewelry images


Robin Updike last interviewed Nadine Kariya for Ornament more than a decade ago, when Kariya was running her own commercial jewelry studio. But Kariya left the commercial world in 2005 and Updike reports that it is wonderful to see Kariya’s artwork now that she can devote her full attention to it. “Nadine is a very modest person with masterful technical skills and an eye for the exquisite,” says Updike. “Her new work is ambitious and breathtakingly beautiful.” She also covers Think Twice: New Latin American Jewelry, showing at the Bellevue Arts Museum. Updike is a freelance writer based in Seattle, Washington, who is especially happy when writing about jewelry and costume.



This article in its entirety appears only in the print magazine.

Keep rich and engaging content in your life, click here to subscribe today.


Our upcoming issue 37.4 contains


Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show


  Follow Ornament on...