Melanie and Michael Lente

Melanie and Michael Lente

Standing among today’s artistic innovators is jewelry designer, silversmith and goldsmith Melanie Kirk-Lente.  Working with her husband, Michael Lente (also Isleta), Kirk-Lente creates exquisite pendants, earrings, and rings in precious metals, inlaid with colorful stones.  The pieces incorporate Australian and Peruvian opal, sugilite, pink tourmaline, turquoise and coral, and most recently; emerald & sapphire.  Multi-strand necklaces with hand-rolled opal and gold beads also are a new creation.

Recently introducing more abstract designs and various casting and finishing techniques, Kirk-Lente has taken traditional Native jewelry making into the realm of fine art.  “There has been such a big change in my work recently,” she explains.  “Moving into more contemporary and abstract designs, and using more nontraditional stones, has taken me in new directions, creatively.  Some see change as a bad thing, but I’m striving to remove the barriers between the two genres of traditional and contemporary art.”

Fusing traditional design elements and tribal motifs with modern, minimalist elegance, Kirk-Lente work reflects her cultural roots as well as contemporary sophistication.  In one work, the serpent, or Avanyu, a sacred pueblo spirit being, is presented in 14kt gold, executed in fine detail.  Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, and Kokopelli are also depicted, expressed through a unique and refined metalworking style accompanied by precisely cut and inlaid gems and stones.  Kachinas, bears, and nature symbols; water patterns, lightning and shooting stars, come to life through the artist’s mastery of lost-wax casting and fine-line etching techniques.  Other skills were fine-tuned during her formal academic pursuits; she earned her degree from the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California.  In addition to her formal training, Kirk-Lente refined her art through the invaluable education she received from her late father, celebrated silversmith Andy Lee Kirk (Isleta).  “I learned so much from my father,” she says.  “He taught me about stones and different setting techniques, and how to be resourceful and efficient with my materials.  It was intimidating to see him create one great thing after another.  Trying to come up with new pieces was challenging, and there was pressure on me to stay within the defined style of traditional work.  It has only been recently that I have begun to go forward with new ideas.” 

Kirk-Lente has amassed quite an assortment of ribbons from the nation’s most prestigious art markets, including Indian Art Northwest, the Eiteljorg Museum’s Indian Market and the Santa Fe Indian Market.  Her work has also been included in Blue Rain Gallery’s annual Show on the Road for several years, and many other shows as well.  Along with new jewelry collections in silver, gold, platinum, and inlay designs, Kirk-Lente has already begun work on her first cast-bronze sculptures.











Sizing

Although the best way to test the size and fit of a piece of jewelry is to try it on in the store, we know that is not always an option. In an effort to help you choose the piece that is right for you, we have included measurements of each piece on the website. Here is how our measurements are defined:

Bracelets

Finding the right size bracelet for your wrist has always been a tricky endeavor, since, unlike rings, there isn't a standardized, universal sizing chart for wrist size. One reason for this is that we all have different shaped wrists, some of us have round wrists, while others have more oval. Bracelets, like wrists, also have different shapes.

So, while bracelet sizing will never be an exact science, we've done what we can to ensure the greatest chance of a comfortable fit. The best thing you can do if you don't know your wrist size is to take a soft measuring tape and loosely measure the circumference of your wrist at the point you plan on wearing it. Try not to have the measuring tape dig into your skin, as this will result in a smaller than ideal size. Once you have the circumference of your wrist, compare it to the chart below to find the correct bracelet size. If your wrist measures in-between two sizes, we recommend rounding up to the larger size. (ie: if your wrist measures 6.375"- you should shop for size "Medium" bracelets.)

 Wrist Circumference

Corresponding Bracelet Size

5.5"

XX-Small

5.75"

Extra-Small

6"

Small

6.25"

Small-Medium

6.5"

Medium

6.75" - 7"

Medium-Large

7.25"

Large

7.5"

Extra-Large

7.75"

XX-Large

8"

XXX-Large

 

You may want to drill down further on the bracelet sizing to make sure the cuff is a comfortable fit. You will notice on our website that we generally list four measurements for bracelets:

Keep in mind that certain bracelets can be adjusted slightly to fit your wrist, but those with inlay or stones all the way around will be damaged if bent. In any case, it is always best to check with with us to see if a particular bracelet is adjustable.

Lastly, have no fear! If you order a bracelet that doesn't fit, send it back for one that does! We want this to be a positive experience, you should never wear something that isn't 100% comfortable. More on our return policy here.

Buckles

Sizing belt buckles is pretty straightforward. The height and width are self-explanatory, and the belt width describes the maximum belt width the buckle will fit on.

Concha Belts

We try to include the height and width for the conchas, as well as the buckle (if different), and the width of the belt they are on. The length of the concha belts can be less important, because these belts are often made quite long to accommodate many waist sizes, and then can be shortened to fit the wearer. If you are concerned whether or not a belt will fit you, just ask. We are happy to size most of our concha belts before shipping.