Teresa Kiplinger


studio jeweler

Eclectic Influences

I grew up on my grandparents' defunct Ohio farm where I spent my summers wading through waving pastures, coaxing butterflies and grasshoppers to my fingertips. On dim snowy Saturdays, I explored my grandmother's bookcase that overflowed with disintegrating poetry tomes and family ephemera. I recall unfolding century-old letters from long-dead ancestors and trying to imitate their penmanship with dried-up magic markers. Even before I could read, I puzzled over the crumbling books and their 19th-century engravings of tempest-tossed boats and gossamer angels. Studying these humble artifacts, I became lost in the stories – the tintype lives and the lost loves. Decades later, I am the keeper of the bookcase and its strange contents, and my Saturdays have scarcely changed.

A present-day bean field on the back acres of my grandparents' Ohio farm.

A recently discovered artifact, folded for decades inside one of my inherited antique books – An early attempt at 19th-century handwriting, around age eight.

Principles and Poetry

I felt a call to become a metalsmith after two decades working with computers as a graphic designer. I wanted to create something that I could touch, that would outlast me.

At university, I trained in the aesthetic of the Swiss school of graphic design. Though my metalwork does not always reflect the notoriously minimal Swiss style, its principles are ever present, from my obsessive sensitivity to typography to my attention to negative space.

My affinity for poetry and its power to express emotion is perhaps the greatest influence on my metalwork. All my life, I have studied, memorized, read aloud and written verse – I just can't help but design jewelry that incorporates words and handwriting.

A treasured home recording of my great grandfather reciting Poe, circa 1973. I am told he often did this after a long day working on the farm.

A voice from within loss

When my teen stepson, Adam, took his own life, I channeled my grief into my burgeoning metalwork. I forged a bracelet in Adam's honor, etched with a message to him. I felt its heat and permanence in my hands as I formed it, and in the long months that followed, I wore it every day. Each time I touched the raised words on my wrist, I was reconnected to him; this tactile conduit lifted me out of the superficial world and brought me back to what is important. Soon, I was making bracelets for others who were mourning. From within my grief, I found my voice, and I wanted to share it with others.

Your life is a remarkable story of heartbreak and joy. Do not let the world reduce it to a tweet, a shopping list, a beauty contest. Wear my handmade, heirloom quality jewelry as a touchable, constant reminder of what's important. Place an order for one of my personalized bracelets and necklaces, or contact me to learn how I can create an original design to preserve your legacy in precious metal.

Remember what's important, every day.
Wear your story.

– Teresa

Teresa Kiplinger is a studio jeweler, a poet, and a noted graphic designer. Inspired by lovelorn letters, forgotten hoards, and treasured reliquaries, she works in sterling silver, bronze and steel to create heirloom-quality wearable stories. Specializing in narrative and modern mourning jewelry, she combines handwriting and original poetry with elements of graphic design such as typography, photography and illustration in her distinctive designs. Her expressive work has been featured in exhibitions and Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine and is worn by soulful women from the Heartland to Hollywood. She accepts custom commissions and offers a line of ready-to-wear as well as personalized pieces.

Teresa is an active member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG), AIGA, and MJSA. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree at Kent State University and she works out of her studio near Cleveland, Ohio.

Read what Teresa's clients are saying about her work.
Follow Teresa on Instagram @tkiplinger to watch her at work in her studio.

A time-lapse video of my etching work. Music courtesy of Joseph Minadeo.

Dandelion seeds float across this...

Instagram The Latest from Teresa Kiplinger on Instagram

3 days ago

Dandelion seeds float across this chunky silver cuff bracelet. My client asked me to inscribe this inside, too: “It’s not what you gather but what you scatter that tells the kind of life you’ve lived.” . . .

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