Saturday, November 28, 2009


The expansive Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, located in Bristol, Rhode Island, are a virtual feast for the senses with its varied collection of lawns, flora, and gardens. Rhode Island is also the home of featured jewelry designer Ananda Khalsa.

When I began putting together this write-up, I started to wonder what creativity truly is. Is it a divine gift that only a select few possess or is it a part of us all? Can it be cultivated or is it a state of being?

What I do comprehend, since starting this blog, is creativity seems to have a life of its own; a percolation of visions and ideas that either float softly and quietly within the mind or strikes without warning like an electric charge.

Here again, creativity is embodied through Khalsa's unique jewelry, which effortlessly blends her love for portrait painting and metalsmithing.

She creates an original, miniature acrylic painting on paper that features symbolic nature motifs including violets, bamboo, and koi fish. She then finalizes the piece by placing the portrait beneath tempered glass, and setting it within a frame of 22-karat gold or sterling silver, with accents of luminous gemstones.

With the exception of a few metalsmithing classes she took in 2002, the former chef is self-taught, and she feels this aspect frees up her ability to create truly distinctive items. In 2004, she established Ananda Khalsa Jewelry.

"I adore stones, but I was always interested in creating items where a gemstone was not the focal point," she explains. "My pieces are inspired by Japanese art and symbolism. I've always been attracted to symbolic imagery."

The blending of two art forms is a wonderful concept with soft, delicate images on paper-- reminiscent of designs made on porcelain tableware--encased within oval, circle or teardrop frames of gold. It is a beautiful symbiosis, a literal representation of wearable art.

"I love the process of making my little paintings and how they come to life. I love the personal meaning people have assigned to the jewelry when they choose a piece. One man chose my Autumn Maple Necklace for his wife because they married under a maple tree."

Khalsa's items are featured on Martha Stewart's website. In addition to her own website, Khalsa's items are sold from
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Hinged Bluebird Bracelet with 22-Karat Gold Accents
Photo 2 (bottom left): Plum Blossom Charm Necklace with Painted Blossom Charm, Rose Cut Ruby, and Disc Charm of 22-Karat Gold
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