Riding horses up to 30 miles throughout the Nebraska Prairie with her father was a typical day growing up on their ranch for jewelry designer Kerri Votaw Kliewer. Little did she know, those were the days that would inspire her career in jewelry design.
One day while riding horses with her father, they came upon a rib of a woolly mammoth at the bottom of a canyon bank. “I have always been intrigued by woolly mammoths and their historic ties to Nebraska,” Kliewer says.
Her past and present are now interwoven at The Jewelers Vault, located at 720 N. Lincoln Ave. in York, Nebraska. Her jewelry is often inspired by the vast prairie. Prehistoric elements are accented in her designs via fossilized woolly mammoth, dinosaur bone and walrus ivory. Her designs also feature buffalo horn, petrified wood and precious gemstones.
The Jewelers Vault showcases an impressive array of gold, diamond, pearl and colored gemstone jewelry — the result of Kliewer’s eye for artistic designs. In addition to the artist's own KVK Jewelry Design collection, her store highlights fine jewelry and engagement rings from a select group of featured designers.
Kliewer established many of her relationships within the jewelry industry while she was wholesaling pearls and gemstones for an Austrian company. She exhibited at shows across the globe, and it was during this time that she cemented close relationships with other designers and diamond wholesalers. She is honored to showcase top internationally acclaimed designers with whom she has built personal relationships.
One of the most rewarding aspects of Kliewer’s career is the opportunity to meet directly with her customers to design jewelry unique to them. These heirloom pieces become keepsakes to pass on to the next generation. Creating a memory and piece of history for a client’s family is one of Kliewer’s favorite parts of being a jewelry designer.
Following a designing session with her client, Kliewer hand illustrates a sketch of the piece. A CAD design is then created from the sketch to give a 3D vision of what the jewelry will look like. A master hand jewelry fabricator makes the final piece.
Kliewer’s daughter, Mariah, has followed in her mother’s footsteps and is also in the jewelry industry. She is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and has developed a network of industry connections in New York and Chicago. The duo works closely together to source diamonds and precious gemstones, design trend-defying jewelry, and hand select pieces for The Jewelers Vault.
Kliewer loves her close-knit Nebraska community and how she can create unique jewelry that ties into her childhood on the ranch. With the internet though, who knows where her next customer will come from? She has had the privilege of sharing her Nebraska inspiration with clients across both the United States and internationally.
Be sure to visit The Jewelers Vault in person for your next unique piece of jewelry or to create your own custom design. You can also visit them online at thejewelersvault.com.