Wednesday, November 12, 2014


9- and 18K Gold Ring with Green Tourmaline
The best way to take in natural scenery is to walk through its midst. 

In Te Anau, New Zealand there are various “walking tracks” that allow visitors to explore rain forests or alpine plateaus. 

New Zealand is also home to featured jewelry designer Penelope Barnhill.

Art is not always conventionally pretty or perfect.  It does not have to be.  Art is creative expression and therefore can be whatever the artist chooses.

Barnhill’s aesthetic is unmistakably roughhewn in one instance like her Midnight Enchanted Garden Bangle Bracelet; and buoyantly spirited in another like Her Painted Words bib necklace made with colorful glass poppies.  Her capacity for taking 180° style deviations is a testament to her varied artistic stirrings. 

Her online gallery is filled with items that are a little offbeat, a little sublime, and a little gothic.  Like many New Zealand jewelry designers her style is not one-note and encapsulates a realness that foregoes the high-polish glamour of other high-profile jewelry brands.  Her rings, necklaces and bracelets each own a peculiar personality.

Barnhill was “seduced” by jewelry as a child upon viewing the pieces her grandmother owned. 
“I was eight years-old when my grandmother showed me her jewelry collection.

Drop Earrings with Natural Blue Zircon and Pearl
Pieces were tenderly displayed in individual matchboxes lined with cotton wool and her eyes danced as she relayed the history of each piece.  I was captivated and I wanted to make jewelry.”

After receiving a diploma in Visual Arts and Craft Design (in 3D), and printmaking Barnhill began carving her place in the jewelry world.  A QEII grant from the Arts Council of New Zealand allowed her to do her first trade show.
18K Gold and Sterling Silver Heart and Tears
with Natural Keshi Pearls

“I have over 18 years of experience creating many extraordinary objects.  Designing the perfect piece for a special person is a rewarding process.”

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