Today we’d like to introduce you to Naomi Sarna.
Hi Naomi, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Born within walking distance of some of the world’s greatest mineral mines in Butte, Montana, minerals, gems, and fossils were a part of everyday life for me. My early memories are of being in my grandfather’s store where miners came to shop and learning to do many types of handwork.
I attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where I studied sculpture and marble carving. After careers as a caterer, psychoanalyst, and medical hypnotist, I went back to my earliest interests. Studying gemstone faceting taught me about light reflection in gemstones. I soon turned to carving gemstones for jewels which I set in precious metals and then large precious sculptures.
To find the best material to carve, I traveled around the world from Tanzania and Madagascar to Arkansas, visiting mines and hand-selecting the rough gems which I turned into treasured objects. Tucson, Arizona where the world’s most important gem dealers gather annually has also been one of my most special sources for gems and dear friends!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Raising my two daughters by myself, working more than full time, and going to school made me put aside my desire to be a working artist. I would send myself to camp every year or so and take classes on jewelry making. At those times, I was fortunate to study with some of the world’s greatest jewelers. It wasn’t until I was much older that I was able to devote myself to my earliest desire and be in my art workshop every day.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I carve precious gems, sapphires, topaz, aquamarine, opals and other materials. Smaller pieces I set in high Karat gold or platinum and embellished with small diamonds, sapphires and other precious stones.
My art carvings are usually 3-5″ high and are sometimes of translucent precious gem material or various types of jade or opal which are opaque. Each requires a different mindset as the former requires an understanding of how light can be transmitted and distorted and the latter how light bounces of the surface of the carving.
Many of my carvings are maquettes for monumental sculptures.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
I have been fortunate in that my work received honors and important awards almost immediately. Since I work alone, this acknowledgment of my art was very encouraging.
Also important in my understanding of fabrication, I worked in the workshops of world-class masters, including J.W. Currens in New York and Bangkok, and with Lew Wackler in his Machine Heaven in Boulder. Co. When I knew very little, they took me in and helped me fulfill my dreams.
- $1,000 – $250,000
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: naomisarna.com
- Instagram: naomisarnadesigns
- Facebook: Naomi Sarna Art Jewels
The above photos are by DeVilbus