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Jeanine Payer

A pioneer in the arena of poetry-inscribed sterling jewelry, Jeanine Payer closed the doors of her 25-year-old business as of Jan. 1, 2014.

Jeanine grew up in California and made her initial creative connection with drawing and sculpture early in life.

In the mid 80's Jeanine came to San Francisco where she studied sculpture in art school. Her intense interest in books and printed words began there. Working in a very small scale, the book form captured her creative imagination. The first jewelry pieces were inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell and photographs of children used so powerfully by Christian Boltansky along with the lush, emotionally charged autobiographical works by Frida Kahlo.

Payer's collection, with its pioneering combination of hand engraved poetry and contemporary design, created the beginning of the current trend of words on jewelry.

Jeanine has been honored to work with some of the most important contemporary poets and translators in the country, and she also has incorporated work from the public domain to push her artistic vision. "Coleman Barks' new translations of Rumi are important to me because they connect with both the ancient and the contemporary; they are sensitive and strong all at once. Also, Stephen Mitchell's Tao Te Ching is incredibly beautiful.  It is such an honor to have been granted permission to use this work. To me poets are like rock stars.  I always get terribly nervous before approaching a poet to work with.  Yet poets are just the artists to appreciate having their work published, literally hand engraved into metal in limited quantities...It's always a wonderful and suprizing collaboration!

Jeanine Payer