Located within Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park is Krakatoa Island. The island is not only home to an array of fauna and flora but also an active volcano that contains three, smaller volcanoes. Indonesia is also home to featured jewelry designer Wayan Sarjana.
Though the current demand for Balinese sterling silver jewelry and sterling silver beads is high according to my research most of the jewelry produced in this region was originally gold.
Balinese legend says the extraordinary craftsmanship of the country’s silversmiths is attributed to gods descending to earth thousands of years ago to teach the metalworkers the art of jewelry making.
For Sarjana learning his craft was a bit more down-to-earth. The amateur historian comes from “a family of artists but I was the first in my family to work with silver.”
The forty-one year old artisan began learning his craft at age 15 from a “good but strict teacher.” Taking inspiration from geometry and nature, Sarjana creates designer jewelry blending traditional Balinese and contemporary aesthetics.
He implements the granulation technique in which tiny spheres or small tubes of silver are handcrafted and applied to unpolished sterling silver. Sarjana takes the granules building them into surface designs resembling thick, twined rope or dotting the outline of the larger design.
It is a technique that brings a weighty, substantial appearance to silver rings, silver chain necklaces and cuff bracelets. At the same time, Sarjana manages to keep his designs minimal and sleek highlighting lithe, flowing outlines offset by such gemstones as garnets, Mabe pearls, amethysts, and moonstones.
“When I was twenty years old I started to produce original pieces on my own that I sold to local shops. I was able to slowly save enough money to make my own workshop at home, where I still work to this day.
Flowers and animals are my favorite subjects but sometimes abstract shapes come into my mind. I have employed five artisans who have been working with me for five years.
Silver is not an easy medium to work with here because the price changes but I cannot imagine doing anything else.”
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Dolphins Play Ball Pendant Necklace with Garnet and Mabe Pearl
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Goddess Coils Dangle Earrings
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Fiery Splendor Pendant Necklace with Carnelian, Garnet and Crystals