Naomi Sarna Debuts at Wilensky Gallery

By Amber Michelle

In the heart of Chelsea’s gallery district in New York City is a most unusual gallery, instead of customary paintings that one would expect, The Wilensky Gallery focuses on exquisite minerals and their presence as art. Their newest exhibition, “Stone in Motion” the mineral art of award-winning jewelry artist Naomi Sarna debuted at the Wilensky Gallery on November 20 for a month-long exhibition. The event kicked-off with a packed opening night party filled with those who appreciate the beauty of gems and minerals.

Naomi Sarna debuts at Wilensky, Fire Empress Pendant -  Fire Opal on display
Naomi Sarna (left), Fire Empress Pendant on display at Wilensky Gallery (right)

“I see minerals as timeless art that is not dated by any particular trend or era, it is always appropriate art,” comments gallerist Stuart Wilensky.

The exhibition focuses on Sarna’s jewelry set with gemstones that she has hand-carved. Her carvings are inspired by flowing water and the sensual curves of Art Nouveau; each stone is softly voluptuous, but makes its own statement. Her signature use of bold color in unexpected combinations is on full display in the exhibition, where each beautifully lit piece has a mesmerizing glow that draws you into the very soul of the stone and the story that is revealed when Naomi carves her gems.

Hand-carved aquamarine pendant on display at Wilensky
Hand-carved aquamarine pendant on display at Wilensky

“This exhibition is an extension of Naomi’s extraordinary talent. It showcases her art in an exquisite way,” remarks Hayley Henning, Naomi’s long-time friend and fellow gem lover.

Guests were treated to a presentation by Naomi about her creative process. “People ask me ‘what is your most important tool?’ and I always say it is my hands. I know that I can do anything that uses my hands from knitting to carving,” she explains.

Naomi also spoke about growing up in Butte, Montana and the grizzled miners who used to come to town to her grandfather’s store to buy equipment and supplies. At a very young age she was fascinated by the stones and minerals that the miners showed her and now she has come full circle, taking those minerals and transforming them into art while allowing the natural beauty of each stone to be fully highlighted.

“It’s big and bold, some of the most interesting jewelry I’ve seen recently,” says Michael Goldstein, antique diamond dealer and a guest at the opening party. “It’s very dramatic and sculptural. I rarely see things that make me say wow, but this did.”

The material that Naomi uses in her creations speaks to her and Naomi notes that when she sees rough gems she knows within moments how she will carve that piece. Her creative vision is underscored by her training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. While there she studied sculpting and was intrigued by the draping of fabric, two elements that she also incorporates into her art.

Opening night with Ettagale Blauer, Naomi Sarna, and Stuart Wilensky
“Stone in Motion” opening night with Ettagale Blauer, Naomi Sarna, and Stuart Wilensky (from left to right)

“Beautifully sculpted stones fit beautifully in sculptured settings that flow together harmoniously,” notes jewelry writer Ettagale Blauer of the pieces on display.

Naomi’s deep connection to the stones that she carves and the detail involved in each of her creations is apparent in her body of work which speaks equally to collectors, jewelry lovers and mineral enthusiasts.