Helen Serras-herman

Helen Serras-Herman is an acclaimed Gem Sculptor with over 29 years of experience in unique gem sculpture and jewelry art. Her award-winning, one-of-a-kind, distinctive artwork on gemstones has been exhibited world-wide and published in over 100 trade magazines and books.

Her work is inspired by her southwest environment and is reflected in the choice of gemstones that she uses, from fabulous Arizona gem materials to fancy color sapphires, garnets, emeralds, opals, tourmalines and coral, which echo the color palette of desert scenes, bright cactus flowers and vivid sunsets. Each of her gems is hand carved by her and all of her Silver Faces are carved by her by hand in wax and then cast in Sterling Silver. All of the creations are one-of-a-kind, signed and set in precious metals of 18K, 14K gold and Sterling Silver. The selection of unusual gem materials and her contemporary organic compositions are qualities that her work in recognized for. During the recent years, she has been working on ‘wearable sculptures’, sculptures that a part of it is removable and worn as jewelry. These pieces explore the connection and transition between the two worlds of Fine Art and Wearable Art.

Born in New York City, lived in Athens, Greece, Helen studied Sculpture in Berlin, Germany for 6 years and received her Master’s degree (MFA) there under Professor Harro Jacob. A graduate gemologist (FGA) and apprentice to the last master of the English school of Glyptic Arts, Helen has devoted her last 25 years to working with gems. In 2005, after 18 years in Maryland, Helen and her husband moved to Rio Rico, in Southern Arizona.

Helen has exhibited worldwide, in Germany and in Greece, presenting solo exhibits and participating in many group exhibits. Here in America she has exhibited at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, 9 times at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Pittsburgh Ballet Opera, the L.A. County Natural History Museum, the Historic Manning House in Tucson, AZ, the Quiet Waters Park Art Show in Annapolis, MD, at the AGTA GemFair and TGMS show in Tucson, AZ and Las Vegas, NV, the American Opal Society Show in Anaheim, CA, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, in Scottsdale, AZ, the West Valley Art Museum in Surprise, AZ, and the Headley-Whitley Museum in Lexington, Kentucky, just to name a few of the venues.

Awards:
- Induction into the National Lapidary Hall of Fame in 2003.
- Best of Show Award for gem sculpture The Omphalos of Earth, Fall 2006
exhibit Pathways and Portals, Tubac Center of the Arts, Tubac, Arizona.
- Best of Show Award- Jewelry Division for Opal & Emerald necklace Echoes,
2003 Manning House Art Show, Tucson, AZ.
- 3rd place Award, 3-Dimensional Art, for jewelry art necklace Azure Skies, May 2011
show, Hilltop Gallery, Nogales, Arizona
- Honorable Mention Award, 3-Dimensional Art, for jewelry art pendant Turquoise
Nymph, May 2012 show, Hilltop Gallery, Nogales, Arizona
- First Place Award for Each One, Teach One, 1994 Eastern Federation of
Mineralogical and Lapidary Societies (EFLMS)
- Lifetime Achievement Award, 2005, Chesapeake Gem & Mineral Society
- Lifetime Achievement Award, 1998, Gem, Lapidary & Mineral Society of
Washington DC
- Presidential Award, 1992, Gem Lapidary & Mineral Society of Washington DC
- Nomination for “Best of Artists” for July 2008 Collector’s Edition

Helen’s Silver Faces Collection, features beautiful gems and one-of-a-kind sculptured Sterling Silver centerpieces, which she carves by hand in wax and then casts. These pieces are inspired directly from her sculptural work.
Her Passion for Opals Collection includes works that feature the wealth and variety of Opals, from Precious Black Opals to Boulder Opals, with several one-of-a-kind carved Opal beads. The Terra Verde-Tribute to our Beautiful Forests wearable sculpture was featured in the Colored Stone 2008 Tucson Show Guide Magazine, and the Sugarcane Emerald Nymphs & Opal Slide Necklace was featured in the 2010 Tucson Show Guide Magazine. In her latest collection Copper Trails, inspired by Southern Arizona’s copper mining history and Helen’s visits to several of these mines, her one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces feature many of beautiful Arizona gems, in some beautiful combinations of gold, sterling silver and copper chains, copper beads, copper-color pearls and carved gems.

Helen is a past president of the Gem Artists of North America and the Gem Lapidary and Mineral Society of Washington DC.

Helen is also a noted lecturer; she has given over 90 lectures nationwide to 35 Societies and Associations. In 2008 she presented her work and lecture titled Gem Carving, Inspiration & Skills at the Museum of Asiatic Art on the island of Corfu in Greece, and in May of 2010 she gave the same presentation at the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, in London. In May 2011 she returned as a presenter to the GIA Symposium, and in October 2011 she is the featured speaker for the 6th Annual Fall Conference sponsored by ASJRA- The Association for the study of Jewelry and Related Arts, to be held in Boston, MA.

Helen Serras-Herman’s work is published in 100 trade magazine articles. Recently Helen’s work graced the cover of the Summer 2010 issue of Gems & Jewellery magazine. Her work has also been featured in several books:
- Cameos Old & New, 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions, an entire chapter devoted to her work
- Phenomenal Gems and Opals by Fred & Charlotte Ward
- The Fine Art book ArtBuzz the 2008 Collection after an international competition.
- Gem Engraving in Great Britain from antiquity to the present, by Dr. Julia Kagan
- Warman’s Jewelry, 4th Edition, Identification & Price Guide book by Kathy Flood
- Collecting Rocks, Gems & Minerals book by Patti Polk
- Opal, Gem Series books by Fred Ward
- In Rare Gemstones by Renee Newman.

“Inspired by people and mythology my gem sculptures and jewelry take the symbolic shape of gods, nymphs or fantastical creatures. I try to portray them with grace and elegance, with exaggeration, pushing the visual limits. Influenced by travels, landscapes, gem materials, history of the ancient worlds, the great masters and the world around me, my art usually tells a story.
Decode the past. Make your own interpretation. I am working. I am dreaming.” HSH

To see Helen’s work, please visit her website at www.gemartcenter.com


Portfolio:

Gem sculptures

Helen Serras-Herman’s gem sculptures are inspired by people and mythology, especially from the ancient Greek mythology, and they often take the symbolic shape of gods, nymphs or fantastical creatures. Inspiration from the ocean or the desert is reflected in the choice of colors or textures. Her Gem Portraits are unique.
Her award-winning, one-of-a-kind, distinctive artwork on gemstones has been exhibited world-wide and published in over 100 trade magazines and books.

Victory Laments “Victory Laments”

Victory Laments-A Tribute to Fallen Heroes

A Gem Sculpture with a carved Tourmalined Quartz (Quartz with Black Tourmaline needles) portraying “Victory” with her closed wings, lamenting over the sea of fallen heroes. Victory is carved as a figurative work with the wings carved in a fluted free-form style. The face is left unpolished for contrast and subject theme.
The heroes’ faces were sculpted in wax and cast in Sterling Silver. The “sea” is symbolized by the neon blue Drusy Hemimorphite. The statue stands on a base of sculpted Alunite, a creamy material with Red flames, symbolizing the heroes’ blood.

Bacchus & the Baccantes “Bacchus & the Baccantes”

Title: Bacchus & the Bacchantes
Medium: Gem Sculpture
Materials: Carved Larimar 70.0 carats, Silver Faces carved and then cast in Sterling Silver 163.0 grams, Jade sculptured base 128.0 grams
Publications: “The Connoisseur Connection”, Colored Stone Magazine, Sept/Oct 2004, article by Derek Moscato
Dimensions: 6.5” 2.5” x 2”

Pluto & Persephone, Rulers of the Underworld “Pluto & Persephone, Rulers of the Underworld”

Title: Pluto & Persephone- Rulers of the Underworld
Medium: Gem Sculpture
Materials: Carved Sunstone 58.98 carats (Dust Devil Mine, Oregon), carved Gem Silica (Chrysocolla in Quartz with Malachite) 280.0 carats (Inspiration Mine, AZ), Silver Faces carved in wax and cast Sterling Silver 115.10 grams, 14K Rose gold 5.5 grams
Dimensions: 110mm H x 55mm W x 38 mm D (4.5” H)
Published in:
- ArtBuzz The 2008 Collection, a Fine Art Book. Entry juried in after an international competition, February 2008
- Lapidary Journal Magazine, July 2007, Chalcedonies used for Carving by Helen Serras-Herman
Awards: Nominated for July Collector’s Edition “Best of Artists”, an online Fine Art website www.BestofArtists.com and publishing company.
Photo by: M.J. Colella
Theme: The Gem Sculpture is composed of a carved Sunstone as the double head of Pluto & Persephone, the ancient Greek mythology gods. Pluto (=”the giver of wealth”), lord of the underworld, with his wife Persephone receive the souls of the dead that have crossed over the subterranean River Styx, represented here with the free-form carved Chrysocolla in Quartz (Gem Silica) with Malachite. The Silver Faces on the base represent the Spirits of the Underworld. Persephone symbolizes the seed-corn that is buried, rises and falls again in a cycle of constant renewal, as she spent the winter in the underworld, rising each spring to live with her mother Demeter, the earth goddess.

Sylvan God “Sylvan God”

Title: Sylvan God
Medium: Gem Sculpture
Materials: Carved Drusy Liebethenite 101.6 grams, carved Ocean Jasper 269.30 grams, carved and cast Sterling Silver 49.4 grams
Dimensions: 5 ¾ H x 3 ¼ W x 3” D
Published in 'Lapidary Journal/Jewelry Artist Magazine, December 2008

The Omphalos of Earth “The Omphalos of Earth”

Title: The Omphalos of Earth
(The Navel of the Earth)
Medium: Gem Sculpture
Materials: Carved Koroit Matrix Opal 105.0 grams (Australia), carved and cast Sterling Silver 77.8 grams, carved Lapis Lazuli 479.0 grams (Afghanistan)
Dimensions: 4 ¼” x 4 ½” x 3?”
Awards: “Best of Show Award”, Fall 2006 exhibit “Pathways and Portals”, “Tubac Center of the Arts”, Tubac, AZ
Publications:
The Fall/Winter 2006 issue of the “ArtBook of the Southwest” magazine
The December 2006 issue of “Lapidary Journal”
The February 2007 issue of “Colored Stone magazine- Tucson Show guide, the Notebook”
(online at http://www.tucsonshowguide.com/tsg/tucson/notebk.cfm )
http://www.lapidaryjournal.com/news_archive.cfm

The Visionary “The Visionary”

Title: The Visionary
Medium: Gem Sculpture
Materials: Carved Black & White Agate 333.20 grams (Brazil), Drusy White Quartz Base 866.0 grams (Colorado), carved and cast Sterling Silver 145.7 grams
Dimensions: 6” H x 4.5” W x 1.5” D

The Emergence “The Emergence”

Title: The Emergence
Medium: Gem Sculpture
Materials: Carved Drusy Smithsonite 157.0 carats [31.40 grams] (Argentina), carved Charoite 794.0 carats [158.8 grams] (Russia), carved and cast Sterling Silver
Dimensions: 12.7 cm (5”) Total Height
Photo by: M.J. Colella
Description:
The Gem Sculpture features a carved Drusy Smithsonite with “a face peering through the veil". The face, placed in a natural hole, was carved in wax and then cast in Sterling Silver.

Terra Verde- Tribute to our Beatiful Forests “Terra Verde- Tribute to our Beatiful Forests”

Title: Terra Verde- Tribute to our beautiful Forests
Medium: Wearable Gem Sculpture
Dimensions: 5.5” H x 4 ¼” W x 3.5” D
Dimensions for Pendant only: 2.5” H x 2 ¼” W x ¼” D

The sculpture “Terra Verde”, or “Green Earth”, is a color symphony in emerald green and chocolate brown, representing our Earth and its fauna. The “Silver Faces”, appearing both on the pendant and the base personify the “Dryades and Oreiades”, nymphs of the trees and the forests from the ancient Greek mythology.

The upper part of the sculpture is a jewelry art piece, removable from the sculptural base so that it can be worn as a slide pendant or a pin. It features a carved Koroit Matrix Opal, 152.0 carats, set in 18KT yellow gold & Sterling Silver with 5 faceted natural Colombian Emeralds, 3.40 carats total weight.

The sculptural base features natural Emerald Crystals in their host rock (matrix), set with Sterling Silver and 3 carved Australian Black Opals 8.97 carats total weight. The Emerald crystal specimen is from Campo Formoso, in Northern Bahia, Brazil, with Matrix of Quartz, crystalline Limestone, black sparkly Biotite Mica schist and hematite.

The pendant setting and the drape-like tentacles with the “Silver Faces” were carved and modeled in wax over the Emerald crystals for an exact fit and then cast in sterling silver.
The pendant is also interchangeable on a 22” long strand of beads of natural Brazilian Emerald crystal and Black, Bronze, Gold & Silver-color Fresh-water Cultured Pearls set in 18KT yellow gold and Sterling Silver.