Gretchen Ventura’s rise as a top contemporary jewelry designer has been nothing short of meteoric! And it’s no wonder when the likes of Donna Karan are a fan of her creations. But Gretchen has long been a student of the stones, minerals and crystals she now incorporates into her work.
While her roots are in Minnesota, Gretchen has traveled all over the world and has done so with a wide open mind. She considers herself a spiritual student—a seeker and collector of experiences and materials used in her designs is reflective of her multi-faceted personality. She simply loves new experiences and adventures, so she didn’t hesitate a moment when her friend, fellow artist Edward Lentsch, invited her to collaborate on his latest project. And this one would be a first for both of them—a life-sized statue of an Arabian horse destined to be auctioned for charity!
Edward was still in the beginning stage of his intricate process of creating this black Arabian (a tribute to the legendary Sundance Kid V) when he had a flash of inspiration based upon a glimpse of a native breast collar on an Arabian horse. And he knew just the perfect artist to call with his idea—Gretchen Ventura. They’ve known of each other through various philanthropies but this would be the first time they would team up on a piece! Edward invited Gretchen to his studio to see the statue while still in its early stages, and even then it was clear to Gretchen that this would be an amazing project. She enthusiastically agreed to come up with an original Gretchen Ventura first—a Gretchen Ventura piece of equestrian jewelry!
What followed was a trip back to Gretchen’s studio where she literally spilled drawers full of material out and as Gretchen put it “the pieces just spoke to us”.
The result is a cascading lattice of antique metal, pearls and stones. Like all of Gretchen’s jewelry, raw minerals mingle with hand-crafted pieces. The materials are as widely traveled as the Arabian breed itself—antique Ethiopian and Afghani prayer beads rub shoulders with Nigerian Bicone beads and antique Yemini beads and tubes all cascading down to an antique Moroccan wedding Brooch. But there is always more to a Gretchen Ventura piece and that’s raw, natural elements each carefully considered— not just for their aesthetics— but also for the energy they bring to the piece. Strands of Biwa pearls are suspended from potent combo of raw pyrite and Herkimer “diamonds”, a stone that no Gretchen Ventura piece is complete without! While not related carbon based diamonds, Herkimer quartz “diamonds”(named for the area in New York where they are mined) are a unique form of unusually clear quartz crystals, naturally faceted at both ends and some say, a conduit to the divine!
If you'd like a chance to own such a stunning creation, check out William Shatner's Hollywood Charity Horse Show Auction!
You can learn more about Gretchen Ventura and her work by visiting her website at https://www.gretchenventura.com