As a fifth generation jeweler Melissa is continuing a family tradition which began in Baden Baden Germany nearly 200 years ago. Introduced early in life to the art of jewelry making and design, she has worked with various metalsmithing techniques and a variety of materials.
"Over the last twenty five years, I established Melissa Shipley Designs, where my focus has been exclusively on design and material quality, searching for the unusual and creating the original. This is where my love for intense detail and extraordinary pearls blossomed.”
"My first response to unusual pearls comes from the organic individuality, versatility and certain unpredictability of these precious little gems. This is the foundation of my inspiration.”
Pearls lend themselves to originality and Melissa embraces this challenge to create new designs that compliment one of nature’s most remarkable creations.
It is important for an artist to constantly progress and develop designs that are fresh and exciting. Yet, Melissa’s love for the beauty of pearls continues. Recent research into the Norwegian art of Rosemaling was the inspiration for her new line of fine jewelry.
“I find the designs are clean, simple and elegant – the qualities I enjoy in pearls.”
Rosemaling, is the ancient decorative folk painting of Norway and began in in the 1700’s. There are several styles of Rosemaling, however, the foundation for Melissa’s inspiration comes from just three styles. First there is Rogaland- where scroll work, leaves and flowers are the focal point, as well as cross hatching, dots, and teardrops – the designs being very symmetrical. Next is Os, where designs include geometric shapes such as cubes and squares, and architectural motifs found on churches or fine houses- both symmetrical and asymmetrical. Finally, Vest Agder, is a style that is symmetrical and somewhat geometric.
Each of Melissa’s designs is rich in detail. Whether you are wrapped in the organic flowing lines of her Origins pieces or captivated by the intricate piercing detail of her latest pieces, one cannot help but be completely absorbed in her work. Hours of research and sketching have gone into each piece. The designs are meticulously laid out and orchestrated. Each pearl or stone is handpicked and individually set creating works of art lasting a lifetime.