Michael Steinmetz Goldsmith

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about the artist


Born in Bavaria, Germany and raised in a small village, Michael's interests were always in nature and after spending as much time as possible outdoors and in and under the water it only seemed natural for him to study biology and geography. On top of this he was also interested in drawing, woodturning, enamelling, metal work, diving, fishing and underwater photography.

As jobs in his favourite subject marine biology were very rare and uncertain at the time, he decided to teach biology and geography at a Grammar school which he -and most of his students - enjoyed for 17 years.

Prior to him and his wife trying out life in New Zealand, Michael was taught by a German master goldsmith the basics in jewellery making with the aim of further developing these skills into a business in their soon to be new home country.

After having some busy first years building a home and looking after their two small children Michael set up his workshop overlooking the sea.

He quickly developed his own style which fused the straight clear clean lines of Scandinavian and Japanese design as well as contemporary European styles, combined with traditional German quality craftsmanship. The traditional Polynesian patterns and styles they saw firsthand on their travels around the South Pacific soon after coming to New Zealand, also appear in his work.

On his first visit to the Cook Islands Michael was fascinated by the Black Pearls cultivated there.

The wide variety of colours combined with their origin in the tropical lagoons of the South Pacific was for him a symbol of one of the last truly untouched paradises on earth.

Supporting the small family businesses of the pearl farmers in the Cook Islands by propagating their pearls and turning them into unique pieces of jewellery is something he still enjoys greatly.

Michael's work is sold mainly in Northland galleries like Parua Bay Gallery and Burning Issues Gallery, Whangarei, via direct contact with clients, by word of mouth and recommendations.

The remodelling and redesigning of jewellery has also become a significant part of his work.

A lot of his pieces also go back to Germany and are especially valued because of their origins in the South Pacific.

Michael is currently experimenting with traditional metal work techniques from Asia using the ancient Japanese technique of Mokume Gane, creating a burl wood effect using different precious metals, and the old Korean technique of fusing gold sheet onto silver called Keum Boo.

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