Barbara Berk

Born in New York City and now based near San Francisco, California, my journey has been circuitous: a childhood love of fabric and sewing; a Master’s Degree in Russian History; 15 years in magazine publishing. My introduction to antique jewelry led to studies in gemology and bench techniques -- and the discovery that my true passion is working with the metal itself. I learned that metal can be worked like fiber, that sheet and wire can be woven. Most exciting was the realization that sculpture -- both smaller and larger scale, wearable and installation -- can be fashioned from the precious metal “fabric”. I founded Barbara Berk Designs in 1992 to create my signature handwoven metal artwork.

I design and create each piece. Some start with lines and squiggles on paper, some with paper patterns. I play with pipe cleaners, woven metal circles and ribbons. I test and refine every jewelry design in silver before I execute the final creation in gold or platinum. I work directly in stainless steel, brass, bronze and copper to create the larger sculptural forms.

Among my honors are a 2004 American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Award, the 2002 Award for Excellence in Design from the Women’s Jewelry Association, and a 2001 Saul Bell Design Award for jewelry design. 

My work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Gemological Institute of America (Carlsbad, CA). My jewels are exhibited in museums and shows across the US including LOOT! 2011: Mad About Jewelry (Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY); New West Coast Design: Jewelry + Metalwork (Velvet da Vinci Gallery, San Francisco, CA); Wearable Expressions 2005 – 2006 (Palos Verdes Art Center, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA); The Art of Gold, a traveling exhibit of contemporary American studio goldsmithing organized by the Society of North American Goldsmiths (2003 – 2006); Art Blooms Jewelry Fair 2005, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD; the Jewelry Arts Salon at the International Art and Design Fair (New York, NY 2004); and Best of the Best at the Museum of the Gemological Institute of America (Carlsbad, CA 2003). In addition, my work has been exhibited at various SOFA (Sculpture Objects Functional Art) Expositions and American Craft Council shows.

My jewels have been featured in many publications, including Textile Techniques in Metal for Jewelers, Textile Artists and Sculptors by Arline Fisch, Jewelry and Gems by Antoinette Matlins, Art Jewelry Today by Dona Z. Meilach, in addition to many magazines including Metalsmith, Ornament, American Style, Jewelry Artist (formerly Lapidary Journal), Gems and Gemology (published by the Gemological Institute of America), plus numerous trade publications. I am the author of “Textile Techniques in Metal: A Designer’s Perspective on Sheet and Wire” Parts I and II, presented at the Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing (2004 and 2006, respectively) and published in the Symposiums’ Proceedings. I wrote “A Platinum Tapestry: Weaving all the Elements Together”, presented at the Women in Platinum Symposium (1999) and published in Platinum Manufacturing Process Volume VIII, Platinum Guild International USA (2000).

I teach classes in my studio at the Peninsula Museum of Art/Peninsula Art Institute in Burlingame, CA. I also teach workshops at art centers and schools across the country, including University of California Extension - Santa Cruz (CA); the 92nd Street Y (NY); The Ranch, Center for Arts and Craft (WA); Mendocino Art Center (CA); Metalwerx (MA);  Kraftwerks Invitational Jewelry Manufacturing Seminar (CA).

P.O. Box 4430


Foster City, CA 94404


(650) 349-4137  




2004 Spectrum Award, American Gem Trade Association
2002 Award for Excellence in Design, Women's Jewelry Association
2001 Saul Bell Design Award for Jewelry Design: 1st Place
2000 Gold Trends 2000, World Gold Council: Winner
1998 Rising Star – JCK International Jewelry Show in Las Vegas
1998 NICHE Award Gold Jewelry: Finalist
1997 DIVA Award for Jewelry Design, Women’s Jewelry Association: Certificate of Merit



Museum of Fine Arts, Boston – Boston, MA
Museum of the Gemological Institute of America – Carlsbad, CA


2011 LOOT! Mad About Jewelry - Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY
2008 New West Coast Design: Jewelry + Metalwork - Velvet da Vinci Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2005 Wearable Expressions 2005 – 2006 - Palos Verdes Art Center, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
2005 The Art of Gold - Perspective Gallery, Blacksburg, VA; Midland Center for the Arts,
        Midland, MI; Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery, Syracuse, NY
2004 The Art of Gold - Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR; Mint Museum of Craft and
        Design, Charlotte, NC; J. Wayne Stark University Center Galleries, College Station, TX;
        Anchorage Museum of Art and History, Anchorage, AK
2003 The Art of Gold - Crocker Museum of Art, Sacramento, CA; University of Richmond
        Museums, Richmond, VA; Spencer Museum, Lawrence, KS
2003 Best of the Best - Museum of the Gemological Institute of America, Carlsbad, CA
2000 Gem Artists of North America - Natural History Museum, Los Angeles, CA
2000 Materials: Hard and Soft - Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton, TX
1998 Artist’s Alchemy: Brooches in Precious Metals - Gallery Goldsmiths, San Antonio, TX
1997 International Jewelry Fair - Takashimaya, Tokyo, Japan
1997 Measure for Measure: Gold for the Millennium - Taboo Studio, San Diego, CA
1996 Materials: Hard and Soft - Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton, TX
1996 ArtWORKS 96 - Sun Gallery/Hayward Area Forum of the Arts, Hayward, CA
1996 Textile Techniques in Metal - Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, MA
1995 Craft America ’95 - Silvermine Guild, New Canaan, CT
1995 The Art of the Brooch - Edith Lambert Gallery, Santa Fe, NM and Margo Jacobsen
        Gallery, Portland, OR curated by Rosanne Raab
1993 Heartland National Art Festival - Lenexa, KS



Berk, Barbara M., "Barbara Berk: Interview",, July 2009
Berk, Barbara M., "Introduction to Weaving with Sheet and Wire," Orchid/The Ganoksin Project, © 2005, posted 2006
Berk, Barbara M., "Textile Techniques in Metal:  A Designer's Perspective on Sheet and Wire,
        Part II”, Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing, Proceedings, 2006. Presented at
        Santa Fe Symposium, 2006.
Berk, Barbara M., "Textile Techniques in Metal:  A Designer's Perspective on Sheet and Wire",
        Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing, Proceedings, 2004. Presented at Santa
Fe Symposium, 2004.
Berk, Barbara M., “A Platinum Tapestry: Weaving All the Elements Together”, Platinum
        Manufacturing Process Volume VIII,
Platinum Guild International USA, 2000. 
        Presented at Women in Platinum Symposium, 1999.

Books & Catalogs

Gold: Science and Applications, Christopher Corti and Richard Holliday, 2010
Jewelry and Gems, the Buying Guide
, Antoinette Matlins and A.C. Bonanno, 2009
New West Coast Design: Jewelry + Metalwork
Velvet da Vinci Gallery, 2008
Art Jewelry Today 2,
Jeffrey B. Snyder, Schiffer Books, 2008
Jewelry & Gems, the Buying Guide, Antoinette Matlins and A. C. Bonanno, 2005
Pearl Buying Guide,
Renée Newman, 2004
Art Jewelry Today,
Dona Z. Meilach, Schiffer Books, 2003
Textile Techniques in Metal, Arline M. Fisch, Lark Books, 2001
The Gem and Jewelry Pocket Guide, Renée Newman, 2000
Rainbow of Jewelry,
Caroline Childers, Rizzoli International, 2000
Textile Techniques in Metal,
Arline M. Fisch, Lark Books, 1996
Jewelry/Metalwork Survey #3: Ideas, Images, Imagemakers,
David LaPlantz, 1993

Magazine Covers

Adornment, Spring 2008
Rapaport Diamond Report,
February 6, 2004
American Jewelry Manufacturer,
October, 1999

Selected Periodicals

“Signature Techniques”, Lapidary Journal/Jewelry Artist, Annie Osburn, September/October 2011
“Great Designers”,, March 2011
“In The Loop: Textile Techniques in Jewelry Making”, Michael David Sturlin, MJSA Journal, January 2011
“A Crash Course in Jewellery Materials and Techniques”, Olga Gonzalez, Gems & Jewellery, October 2009, Vol. 18 No. 4
“Saul Bell Design Award: Following in a Founder’s Footsteps”, Jill DeDominicis, Ornament,Volume 32 No. 5, 2009
“Jewelers Cope as Cost of Gold Remains High”, Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop, International Herald
  Tribune, The Global Edition of the New York Times
, December 12, 2008
“Gallery”, Art Jewelry, January 2009
“Inspiration All Around Us”, Ronna Sarvas Weltman, Step by Step Wire Jewelry, Fall 2008
“The Scintillating Jewelry of Barbara Berk”, Adornment, Yvonne Markowitz, Spring 2008
“Museums Update: Gifts & Acquisitions”, American Style, December 2007
“Facets: MFA, Boston Acquires Brooch”, Jewelry Artist, November 2007
“Boston Museum Acquires Berk’s Work”, JCK Luxury, Fall 2007
“Berk Brooch Donated to Museum”, Modern Jeweler, September 2007
“Doer’s Profile: Barbara M. Berk, GG”, Jewelry Artist, September 2007
Revelations in Gold: A Voyage of Discovery for New Gold Jewelry Designs, World Gold Council, 2007
“Designer Weaves a Story of Modern Textile Art”, The Loupe: GIA World News, Jaime Kautsky, Winter 2007
“Buckled Up: Industry technical experts create precious concho belt to honor Eddie Bell”,
  MJSA Journal,Tina Wojtkielo Snyder, January, 2007
“Designer Lines”, Rapaport Diamond Report, Amber Michelle, January 5, 2007
“Weaving Wonders Out of Metal”, Crafts Business, Amy Feinstein, May/June 2006
“Please Touch”, American Style, Lee Lawrence, December 2005
“School of Fisch”, Lapidary Journal website, Nina Graci, September 2005
“Gem Artist’s Corner”, Jewelers’ Circular Keystone, Gary Roskin, July 2005
“Romancing Platinum”, Solitaire, Roberta Naas, December January 2005
“Pearl Jam”, New York Magazine, Aja Mangum, September 20, 2004
“2004 AGTA Spectrum Awards", Lapidary Journal, February 2004
Trend Portfolio:  Knit One, Purl Two", Jewelry Connoisseur, Summer 2003
“Commissions”, Metalsmith, Winter 2003
“Best of the Best”, Modern Jeweler, March 2003
“Consumer Guide to Pearls”, Modern Jeweler, March 2003
“Facets: Park Avenue Style”, Lapidary Journal, Hazel L. Wheaton, September, 2001
Sources: Your Guide to Great Gold Jewelry, World Gold Council, June 2001
“A Cut Above: Intertwining Style”, AJM, Tina Wotkielo, June, 2001
“Jewelry of the 1990s”, Gems and Gemology, Elise B. Misiorowski, Winter 2001
“Trend Portfolio: Platinum”, Jewelry Connoisseur, Fall 2000
“Portraits de Femmes: Barbara Berk – Elle tisse l’or et le platine”, A World of Dreams, Didier
  Brodbeck, October, 2000
“Here Be Dragons”, Lapidary Journal, July, 2000
“Platinum Power – A Consumer Guide to Platinum Style”, Modern Jeweler, July, 2000
New Millennium Gold – Gold Trends 2000, World Gold Council, June, 2000
“Pearls of Wisdom”, NICHE, Lynda McDaniel, Spring, 1999
“Tahiti Pearl Designers’ Gallery”, Perles de Tahiti, July-August, 1998
“JCK’s Galaxy of Rising Stars”, NICHE, Summer 1998
“On the Horizon: Ten Artists to Watch,” NICHECindy Edelstein, Spring 1997
“Versatile Jewelry”, Gems & Gemology, Fall, 1996
“In Touch with Studio Artists: Barbara Berk”, American Style, Marilyn Yung, Fall, 1996
Sources: A Jewelry Market Report (Volume One),
World Gold Council, May 1996
Earrings: A Jewelry Market Report,
World Gold Council, December, 1995
“Gold Weaving: A Modern Fairy Tale”, GEM, Volume 2, 1995/96
“7 American Designers”, AJM, Annalee Gold, April, 1994


1991 Graduate Gemologist, Gemological Institute of America, Santa Monica, CA
         Home Study Graduate of the Year - 1992
1974 M.A., SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY
1972 B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY


Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts
Gemological Institute of America Alumni Association
Metal Arts Guild
Textile Arts Council


2013 The Ranch. Center for Arts and Craft, Snohomish, WA. Weaving with Metal
2011 The Ranch. Center for Arts and Craft, Snohomish, WA. Weaving with Metal
2010 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Weaving with Metal
2008 Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA. Weaving with Metal
2007 University of California Extension/Santa Cruz, Cupertino, CA. Weaving with Metal
2006 Metalwerx School for Jewelry and the Metal Arts, Waltham MA. Weaving with Sheet & Wire
2003 “At the Bench Live”, MJSA Expo New York. Weaving Gold
2002 Kraftwerks Invitational Jewelry Manufacturing Seminar, Ontario, CA. Textures:Weaving With Gold
2000 California Institute for Jewelry Training, Sacramento, CA. Weaving with Metal
1999 Metal Kitchen, New York, NY. Weaving with Metal

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