Norah Pierson 1940 - 2007
In the late sixties, Norah Pierson, just back from studying art and jewelry making in Italy, began an apprenticeship with master jeweler Joseph Nolen in Laguna Beach, California. In 1971 she opened her own custom jewelry store, The Golden Eye. She was very successful and built a strong following but decided that Laguna Beach was getting too big. She moved to Santa Fe, reopening her store in June 1984. When she arrived in Santa Fe she hired Amy Bertelli to be her store manager. For twenty-three years, Norah and Amy made beautiful jewelry together and trained a growing support staff. Norah's dream store had become a reality. Sadly, in June of 2007, Norah passed away unexpectedly, leaving her shop and all her designs in the hands of her manager Amy Bertelli. The Golden Eye's loyal crew of bench jewelers and sales associates are upholding the legacy of Norah Pierson's distinctive designs and finishes. We continue to offer exquisite jewelry, from the golden oldies to newly inspired designs, all hand made by our highly skilled team in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Johanna was born and raised in Lake City, Minnesota on the Mississippi River. For most of her life, she has been immersed in her role as a mother, and her career as a physical therapist.
Johanna is an avid fan of the outdoors and derives much fulfillment from hiking, cross country skiing, mountain biking, and spending time with her animals. It was the harmony and balance of nature that inspired her to begin working with precious stones and metals. A trip to the Argyle mine in Australia left her enamored with natural colored diamonds. Her travels to the Middle East added an earthy opulence to her striking designs.
Although Johanna's intention was to express her joy and creativity through her jewelry and share it with a select few, others soon noticed her designs and asked to buy the items she was wearing. Johanna's business grew rapidly by word of mouth and now she finds herself, much to her delight, a full time artist.
The Golden Eye has had the privilege of representing artist Keith Berge for several years. His attention to detail and design are highly regarded in the world of goldsmithing.
"The primary influences in my work arise from a lifelong fascination with history and a desire to better understand the technical and artistic motivations and challenges of the past. As such, the majority of my work is an effort to pay tribute to the amazingly talented ancient craftsmen drawing heavily on Minoan, Sumerian, Etruscan, Greek, and Roman influences. Humans have adorned themselves with jewelry for at least 30,000 years but the introduction of metals into jewelry is relatively recent, only becoming widespread in the past 7000 years. Sadly, many of the techniques used by the ancients to create their masterpieces have been lost due to rapid advances in technology and the ability to inexpensively mass produce items. It is my goal to keep the old ways alive, recreating by hand, often painstakingly, pieces that are similar or identical to the pieces made thousands of years ago. Although the tools I use are better than those of the Bronze Age Etruscan craftsman, the challenges are comparable. My medium of choice is high karat gold because it imparts a soft, rich luster to my pieces, providing a look suggestive of an ancient and regal past.
In addition to my goldsmithing, I have a 'day job' as an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic. While I love this career with the academic and social outlets it provides, the greatest joy of my day comes when I can sit at my workbench to recreate the wonders of the ancient past."
Liza Gene Sanchez
Ms. Sanchez has a BFA in Art Education with a minor in painting and an MA with emphasis in metals, both from the University of Illinois in Champagne-Urbana. She lives and works in her studio just north of Española, New Mexico with her husband and their two large dogs.
"Although I was born and raised in northern Illinois, it was the mountains of New Mexico where I finally found my home. The unique landscapes and special aura of the region give me inspiration and serenity.
I have always been intrigued by natural forms and textures, especially upon close examination. Flowers, pods, even rocks fascinate me. My cholla wood designs were inspired by the spiky shrub-like cholla cactus that grows abundantly in our high deserts. When it dries, the wood forms a tube-like stick with many elongated holes; its lines are quite beautiful. I start with a small piece of a stick, which I file and mold. By using this basic component, either in wax or in metal, in different combinations, I can create endless variations. I don't try to duplicate nature, I try to capture my impressions of its essence."
Silvio Mazzarese was born in Tunisia to a family of Italian jewelers. His father and uncle had a jewelry store in Tunis, and then in Rome.
The family moved to Nice, France where Silvio went to jewelry school. In 1982 Silvio moved to the United States.
He honed his skills in Kansas City and San Francisco before falling in love with the beauty, open spaces, and people of New Mexico.
Silvio became a member of The Golden Eye family where he was influenced by Norah Pierson's opulent, old world aesthetic for over ten years. He continued to work with The Golden Eye until 2008.
He and his family now live in Vermont. He continues to provide The Golden Eye with his iconic designs.
Michael Grant learned to make jewelry from Yaqui-Spanish master jeweler Danny Romero in the early eighties. He has worked as a jeweler ever since, preferring primitive tools to high tech innovations.
"In our society, financial requirements trick us into believing we must hurry up in the work we do. I have sometimes lived their way, but overall, mostly, the stones have taught me differently. Stones are very slow and patient. I spend my workdays alone with them in my workshop and the slowness rubs off on me. It is futile to hurry jewels along on their journey of emergence from the raw stone which bore them. They refuse to move swiftly, forcing the jeweler to still his anxiousness, and even abandon his pursuit of completion. It sounds odd to say it, but they will be complete only when I have learned to follow them and not lead them. Sometimes when I resist this lesson my life is filled with anxiety, yet when I am mindful of this lesson I feel balanced and beautiful. The stones have given me this, and I sincerely hope that the finished jewels which I create can offer the wearer the helpful sort of harmony, a balancing counterweight of timelessness to human life in the 21st century."
"While traveling in Ecuador I became fascinated by the jewelry worn by the indigenous women of villages in the high Andes. These women have a highly developed sense of style, steeped in tradition. Their community and familial pride is expressed in their dress, and their jewelry signifies their wealth and status.
The Spanish brought their techniques of goldsmithing with them when they colonized South America in the late 16th century. There they found a native culture with highly developed metalworking techniques of its own that readily absorbed the Spanish filigree technique. This craft of great refinement has evolved over four hundred years.
In the lovely colonial town of Cuenca I met Jorge Moscoso, a wonderfully sophisticated master jeweler, who was able to help find other jewelers still skilled in these techniques. Jorge helped me realize my dream of bringing this unusual jewelry to the United States and beyond. I am deeply committed to the development of the Belle line for the benefit of these marvelous craftsmen."
"Prior to moving to Santa Fe, I lived in Westchester County, New York working as a knitwear designer for Artyarns, a luxury yarn company. My recent move to Santa Fe has both impressed and inspired me with the exciting and creative work on display by the many local artisans. I have now become interested in designing beaded jewelry, especially crochet bead work. There is no limit to the colors, textures, materials, and designs that I am able to work with. Along with the many types of beads I use, I enjoy working with 24kt gold plated beads, and stones such as tourmaline, sapphire, and ruby. Some of my jeweled patterns are based on nature, including patterns that are
inspired by snakes in the area. I feel fortunate to be able to do the work that I love and to have it shown at The Golden Eye."
Laila Farcas Ionescu
Laila Farcas Ionescu was born and educated in Romania. She obtained her art degrees at Hunter College and Pratt Institute.
In the jewelry world, Laila is known as an expert wax carver; she has worked for renowned jewelry houses, from Harry Winston to Tiffany’s.
Within Laila’s own line of jewels, her love for animals is exuberantly expressed. Through her animal characters, Laila weaves magical stories by unfettering the characters that populate her personal universe. Whether painting, sculpting or jewelry making, Laila likes to spin tales and provoke reactions.
"I invite the viewer to mirror herself in my characters and in the stories they tell, thus for a second having a glimpse of a parallel, possible world (my own) and its undisclosed, yet familiar undertakings."
Michael Jensen Designs
Michael Jensen Designs, created by Michael and Catherine Jensen, is inspired by the mythology of ancient civilizations. Michael has been a designer and metalsmith for more than thirty-four years. Catherine is a world traveler and graduate gemologist. Their passion for sculptural form and refined engineering provides the impetus for a collection that evokes the nobility of legendary times.
Susan Sims has been developing her craft for more than thirteen years. All of her jewelry is hand fabricated in 22kt gold. She melts the metal into a solid 22kt gold ingot that she forms and hammers until she is satisfied with each one-of-a-kind piece.
Susan's inspiration for her work is the inherent beauty of the gold and the challenge of creating a vehicle for that richness. She knows she has been successful when the emotion that she invests in each piece engenders a palpable, full-hearted sense of resolution. Susan's wish is for the wearer to enjoy the same exhilaration that she experiences in the process of expressing her vision through her art.