Los Angeles, Calif. Jan. 4, 2021. Kristin Ohmstede’s idyllic childhood in Texas was joyful, eclectic, and full of happy days riding horses and playing with the sheep and bunnies her parents adopted for her personal petting zoo. It sounds like a farm, though Ohmstede insists it wasn’t, but her own unique childhood utopia did inspire her present-day eponymous Kristin Ohmstede Fine Art Jewelry line.
“I grew up on a normal street with a giant yard, but my parents were real free spirited,” she says. “I had mallard ducks in the backyard. My mom was unconventional and super fun.”
Education & Training
At university, Ohmstede studied art, design, and textiles and snagged a post working with a Parisian clothing designer. She took more design classes at Central Saint Martin’s, in London, and eventually moved to Los Angeles, where she took jewelry-design classes at Otis College of Art and Design. It was there her lightbulb moment occurred, and all of her fashion and design education, fashion work experience, and charming and worldly upbringing (Ohmstede’s mom took her to Europe several times) paved the way for the whimsical, cosmopolitan, and animal-inspired aesthetic now evident in her eponymous jewelry line. Her very first creation? A wide-eye bird, a version of which is in the collection today.
“My style is whimsical, playful, poetic, and personified by animals in motion,” she continues. “Birds, bunnies, and ponies are the primary animals I feature, while diagonal stripes in champlevé enamel is another signature design element. The love and connection between people and animals is my DNA.”
Not surprisingly, some specific horses from her life have a home in her body of work, given that the horse was her second design.
“When I started riding, I got into Andalusians and lived in Madrid for a year and a half,” she says. “I bought a horse named Iman in Seville and took him home to Austin and learned dressage on him. He was the horse of my life! I ended up losing him to colic after six years. Afterwards, I bought three colts in the Netherlands as a way of healing. The horse you see cantering in my collection is one of those foals, Formel Eins.”
Still, Ohmstede’s charmed life inspired her to add clouds and bows to the design mix. For sure, her charmed life and influences built a foundation for this lighthearted signature style, which applies a whimsical eye to literal symbols.
What’s next? Likely dogs—a Russell Terrier, to be exact. “If I were not in L.A., I would have a dog—I see one in my future,” she notes.
Ohmstede sketches designs for master craftsmen to bring to life. Many components, such as French wires on earrings, are custom made. Pieces are both cast and fabricated, the latter from gold bars. All jewelry is made in Los Angeles in 18k gold (though some hair jewels are executed in silver). Diamonds add a hard-to-beat level of sparkle while vibrant colored gems like sapphires and tourmalines “add an aspect of joy and whimsy,” says the artist. Retail prices for her work start at $850.
Earrings in 18k yellow gold with French wires and 0.0035 ct. t.w.–0.025 ct. t.w. diamonds by Kristin Ohmstede, $1,250 apiece; email firstname.lastname@example.org for purchase
Rainbow collection Bird, Bunny, and Pony pendant necklaces in 18k yellow gold with champlevé enamel stripes and 0.03 ct. t.w. diamonds on a 14k yellow gold chain by Kristin Ohmstede; retail prices start at $3,100; email email@example.com for purchase
Signet ring in 18k yellow gold with white champlevé enamel and 0.28 ct. t.w. diamonds by Kristin Ohmstede; $8,495, email firstname.lastname@example.org for purchase
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