Thursday, August 1, 2013

JET Artisan Profile - Niranjan Khalsa of nikhajewelry

Hi! I'm Niranjan, and my shop is named nikhajewelry. I make my jewelry with sterling silver or mixed metals. Much of it is  hand stamped. I use diverse methods to create - wire wrapping and metalwork techniques are both used extensively in my handmade jewelry.

When browsing my shop, you'll find most of my unique jewelry is made with a variety of gemstones, and also many metals, including sterling silver, genuine copper, brass and bronze components.

I create lots of jewelry that appeals to "nerdy" types; I'm a  scientist myself, and my creative inspiration leans toward what I love - earth science, mathematics, chemical composition, gemstones and minerals. I'm a working Geologist, and this background is easy to see in my jewelry!

Here's a great example ... my stamped necklace with a bright, sparkling wire wrapped Peridot briolette. The hand stamped  tag is the chemical formula for peridot, or olivine.

Since I was a small child I have been interested in jewelry, gemstones and minerals. I used to tell my mom that I was gonna be a geologist, volcanologist, archaeologist and gemologist when I grew up. Learning to make jewelry was a natural extension of my love of the Earth, minerals, crystals and jewelry.

Nerdy pickup line necklace
My first jewelry making experience was with my Aunt. She used to make knotted and strung necklaces and prayer beads. I made my first piece with her in 1997. It was a mother of pearl and iolite necklace.Since then jewelry making has become one of my favorite things to do!

 Jewelry can be made with just about anything.

But of course I do have my favorite materials to work with, which include various types of Metal clay - copper, silver, and bronze. I use a lot of sterling silver and copper wire and sheet, and of course gemstones.

I make bracelets, and I also like to create earrings. But my favorite type of jewelry to make is without any doubt my necklaces. I make several different types, but most of what is in my shop right now leans toward my science / geekery genre.

The necklace on the right - my
Cute Genius - Periodic Table of Elements Necklace in Sterling Silver piece is the perfect illustration of science / jewelry fusion!

 As most metal workers will tell you, it takes a lot of tools to make jewelry. But my favorite is the Swanstrom disc cutter!

I make a lot of stamped science and math formula necklaces like the Honey Pi Necklace shown on the right, and my disc cutter is essential for those! Also, my 100 pound Vulcan anvil is GREAT.

And I absolutely LOVE my lapidary tools.  I have been learning to cut my own gemstones (faceted as well as cabs) and have my own equipment to do so. I love it!

Next I want to learn to make my own Mokume Gane billets. Mixed metals are fascinating to me, and Mokume is the ultimate mixed metal art form. I also want to become more experienced with chasing/repousse.

As I mentioned above, I'm currently working as a mining geologist in the state of New Mexico. I'm an avid rockhound/mineral/fossil collector and love to go hunting for Earth treasures in my beautiful state. I have one amazing daughter, a wonderful husband and three quirky cats - Kilauea, Newton and Sugar. Someday, my husband and I hope to sell my jewelry and his awesome black-smithed creations full-time, and work for ourselves.

My AWESOME studio ...

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Here's a look at what's in my shop: