About George Sawyer

George Sawyer: Jewelry Designerjewelry crafted by George's handsGeorge Sawyer: Jewelry Designerhand crafted jewelry

In my work I try to achieve a harmony between form, surface pattern and color. The explorations of the graphic and painterly qualities of color-patterned metal, and the technical challenges of producing sculptural objects from this material, continues to fascinate me.

For me, jewelry is an art form that brings together sculptural and graphic design, originality, technical virtuosity, and a personal communication with the wearer.

I didn’t have a conventional education in jewelry design. I was a Humanities Major at the University of Minnesota. With a liberal arts program that combined literature, art history and the sciences, the Humanities Department’s goal was to produce well-rounded graduates in the Renaissance ideal. Most employers didn’t share this interest. So, I decided to pursue one of my extracurricular interests – fast cars.

I had the good fortune to get a job at Kar Kraft, a small firm in Detroit that designed and built some of the most famous racing cars of the era. There, I was able to learn about metalworking from some of the most talented metalworkers in the world. As a diversion, I took an evening course in jewelry, and my diversion soon became my passion. I sold my racing car to finance tools and time and began my life as a jewelry designer.

My first years in jewelry were spent as a custom jewelry designer. I spent most of my time designing and building one-of-a-kind pieces for individuals, but my personal interest was in Japanese art metalwork, especially the art of the sword. Thirty years ago, ancient Japanese swordmaking techniques were unknown in the United States. It was then that I began to develop my own techniques to produce my signature patterned metalwork. © George Sawyer

Today, while I use conventional metalworking techniques to produce many objects, patterned metalwork still holds my interest.  I’m interested in using color and pattern in a more abstract, painterly way to create a form of art jewelry that rewards the observer with new discoveries and more pleasure the longer and the closer they look.

How Things Go Together Beautifully

George’s Timeline

1971 – Chrysalis necklace This sterling and crystal pendant was one of my earliest designs. Very organic – Can you dig that 70’s vibe? Carole King Tapestry
chrysalis necklace
first generation mokume rings
1971 – First generation mokume rings I made my first pair of mokume rings as a gift for my parents. It’s interesting to track the evolution of my mokume through the decades. mud slide slim
1978 – Calla Lily necklace This piece is an early example of mirror image patternwork in a three dimensional piece. Notice how all the lines in the pattern and piece converge on one point. Saturday Night Fever album
calla lilly necklace
2nd generation mokume rings
1985 – Second generation mokume appears A whole new technique allows much finer linework and more complex patterns. Ronnie Raitt
1985 – Tsavorite ring A beautiful 7 ct. gem tsavorite in an 18k yellow and white gold one-of-a-kind ring. Phil Collins
Tsavorite Ring
chrome tourmaline necklace
1989 – Chrome tourmaline necklace A 28 ct. gem chrome tourmaline, diamond and pearl necklace – half of a necklace/ring suite. Natalie Cole
1992 – Pink topaz necklace The exquisite 25 ct. gem pink topaz in this necklace was a once in a lifetime find. For more details, see Private Collections. Eric Clapton
pink topaz necklace
1997 AJDC Wheel Exhibition brooch
1997 – American Jewelry Design Council Wheel Exhibition The Wheel brooch on the right was part of the 1997 AJDC Wheel Exhibition. The brooch on the left is part of the Steven Kretchmer collection. Bob Dylan
1998 – A blue-green tourmaline and mokume necklace The mokume sections of the necklace are continuously patterned and have 45 degree swivel joints, allowing the necklace to follow every curve of the neck and shoulders. Celine Dion
tourmaline necklace
patina sheet
2007 – Continuing to explore Developing new, completely original patterned metalwork techniques. This panel is made of five different metals. Very rich and dimensional. Dixie Chicks