When Lisa Jenks left a small school in Ohio and moved to New York City to study fashion design at Parsons School of Design, she began a foray into the big city and discovered the world of art, fashion, jewelry and architecture. The loft where she started, a former spring factory in the Flatiron District of New York, was Lisa’s first atelier; it was the creative hub where she formulated her ideas. Moving away from fashion design towards the sculptural realm of jewelry in the late 1980’s, she started her own company. Her sterling pieces hit the scene and were considered original, dramatic and tactile.
For over 25 years, Lisa has been recognized as one of the most distinctive designers of contemporary sterling silver jewelry. Known for her flawless craftsmanship and matte sterling finish, she is credited with giving sterling silver its valued place in jewelry design and in creating collections that are imbued with intelligence and innovation.
Lisa expanded from jewelry to small leather goods, home accessories and tableware. Then she created the highly lauded packaging and gifts for Origins beauty and skin care. After several years expanding her business, she has re-focused on what inspires her most: jewelry.
Lisa says, "Many of our clients tend to collect pieces that reflect their own personal style; and they often grow attached and say it is their personal amulet or lucky charm. My intent is to create jewelry that is inventive, wearable and treasured.”
Lisa is a proud member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and has been honored with many awards; most notably, Jewelry Designer of the Year (2006) by the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), as well as a finalist in the International DeBeers Diamond Jewelry Design awards. In March 2012, The Silver Institute selected her as “International Designer of Distinction”. She resides in Brooklyn with her husband Chris, an award winning photographer and their two children.
Designed and hand made in New York City -
Every beautiful object has a story to tell and the story begins with how it came to be. The creative process is personal to every artist - for Lisa much of her inspiration comes from a broad cultural landscape – creating a multicultural, cross referential collage that has become a hallmark of her work. There are connections to the towering angular forms of Deco skyscrapers, the modernist elements of the Bauhaus School as well as the rhythmic patterns of the Indigenous arts of the South Pacific.
Most significantly Lisa draws inspiration from you – our customers, fans, collectors and peers. We like to imagine how the jewelry turned out to be yours, the significant moments it shares in your life, how you wear it, how it makes you feel. Wonderful we presume.
And so the story continues, it becomes your story. Wear your Lisa Jenks Jewelry for many, many years…happily ever after. It is our privilege to become part of your story.
All of Lisa’s jewelry is made to order. Every piece is individually handmade in our workshop in the USA. Applying age old traditional skills, Lisa uses only the finest quality sterling silver and has recently added a new metals collection - a select group of items offered in solid bronze and pink silver.
Lisa works with our craftspeople to create jewelry that has the highest quality standards. This ensures that every item will be a pleasure for you to own and to wear for years.
Sterling Silver - It is one of the noble metals, a short list that also includes the other precious metals gold and platinum. For centuries the elegant beauty of silver has been prized among connoisseurs – its soft glow and luster develops and deepens over time. It is one reason why old silver is highly sought after and valued. As the principal provocateur for her designs, Lisa says:
“I’ve always been attracted to silver. The nature of the metal allows the owner to personalize it with wear. Each piece develops a warm patina; it gets better with age and shows the identity of ownership.”
Design, model making and castings - Lisa sketches jewelry concepts and constantly gathers ideas. A collection may start with a few key concepts such as machine age steel ribbed and riveted patterns she observed adorning New York skyscrapers. Lisa begins to hand carve, etch and sand a series of wax models for every single silver jewelry component that is required in making an item.
These wax models are the first point where you’ll see Lisa’s distinctive style emerging. In essence, her signature is embedded into the model – it is as individual as one’s own handwriting. Once the wax models are made exactly as she imagined (they look like mini sculptures) they are ready to be cast.
Lost wax process - The wax model is cast by the lost wax process, an ancient mold making technique. Investment (such as plaster) is poured around the wax, heated up, and then the wax melts out and as a result, a cavity is shaped inside. This cavity is filled with molten silver and once it cools down and hardens, a model (a component such as a silver charm or bracelet link) is made. Next a rubber mold is created from this model enabling many wax duplicates to be made. Those waxes are then cast by the same lost wax process each and every time an item of jewelry is ordered.
Hand finishing and polishing – after the silver castings cool down and harden, the next step is to make sure that each piece is perfect in its raw form. There should be no holes, pits or porosity. Good castings are then filed, sanded and buffed until it passes the next inspection. At this point the soldering of the components commences. After meticulously soldering everything together, the item is oxidized (which causes the silver to turn black).
After a few additional steps, the initial polishing and removal of the unwanted black oxidation starts, though some black is left on the silver for its dramatic effect. This creates Lisa’s signature surface decoration or what we call her “design language”.
Next if applicable, the pieces containing pearls, semi-precious stones or vintage beads are hand strung into necklaces or twisted onto earrings. Once the production of the piece is completely assembled, it is patiently polished by the skilled hands of our craftspeople until the famous and flawless matte finish is achieved. A final inspection is made and on approval, the item is wrapped and packaged for our customers!
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