& Debra Shinn
upon a time, a young husband saved back a little money and went to buy his
wife a pretty piece of jewelry. He walked in every store in town and everywhere
he found the same thing - ugly junk. 'What happened to the elegant jewelry
people used to make?' he wondered. Since he and his wife already knew some
basic jewelry-working techniques they decided to make the beautiful pieces
they loved to wear.
have always loved beautiful antique jewelry. We study and recreate the meticulous
techniques of historic master jewelers, from the ancient Greeks and Egyptians
to Art Nouveau and Native American masters like Charles Loloma and Tom Burnsides.
Our work ranges from earrings to sterling silver dining ware.
our work is handmade in our workshop. We collaborate on our designs and
productions, and currently employ no outside labor. We start by making a
series of sample drawings, then decide which technique would be most appropriate
to capture the desired effect. We use a variety of techniques which currently
include sand casting, lost wax casting, wire-wrapping, fabrication, soldering,
setting both faceted stones and cabochons, beading, stamping, raising, chain-making,
bezel-making, repousse, granulation, enamel, overlay and inlay in sterling
silver using wire, sheet and casting grain. We also cut and polish cabochons
and sculptures made from semi-precious stones including turquoise, jet,
coral, mother-of-pearl, charoite, malachite, azurite and lapis lazuli. We
are constantly seeking out new techniques to learn and developing new techniques
of our own.
take special care to make all of our pieces wearable, with no sharp projections
or brittle edges. Our work is meant to go everywhere our customers go and
to be passed down to the next generation.
tools range from tiny pliers and rawhide mallets to a 20-ton hydraulic press.
We increase the authenticity of our work by employing the tools with which
they were traditionally made. We have a full-size blacksmith's forge behind
our workshop to recreate any traditional silversmith's tools that we can
no longer find, as well as innovative tools we have designed ourselves.
artistic inspiration comes from the images and stories we love, everything
from our favorite myths and children's stories to the latest news. We take
special delight in updating powerful images from the past for today's world.
Most of our work is by commission where we enjoy helping people bring their
fondest dreams to life. We are proud to have been chosen by the Mississippi
Band of Choctaws to be the first silversmiths in over 100 years to make
their traditional silver round combs. Our work has been called fantastic,
gorgeous, playful and elegant - but never minimalist.
. . . . . . .
Shinn began learning his techniques from his grandfather in the 1970s. He
attended the Mississippi University for Women from 1985 to 1988 where he
acquired degrees in chemistry and biology and a wife. Debra Shinn was studying
English and social sciences and cultivating a lifelong love of mythology
and mythic images.
started our business in 1991 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We were members
of the South Mississippi Art Association from 1993 to 1996. We held silver-working
workshops, showed locally and began accepting commissions in the Hattiesburg
1997 we moved to north Mississippi, built a full size workshop and developed
an Internet presence offering custom and traditional work worldwide. Our
was created entirely by ourselves, down to the graphics and coding.
in 2003, we were commissioned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
to recreate their traditional jewelry and dance regalia. As of spring 2005
we are exhibiting members of the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi."
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