Natural Beauty: Andrea Kolpaska’s designer jewellery
Growing up in socialist Czechoslovakia, creativity was not always celebrated the way it should be. “Art was very much suppressed by the system so there were only a few artists that were able to survive” said jewellery designer, Andrea Kolpaska. She didn’t let that challenge stop her. She attended the Academy of Fine Art and Design, earning two MA degrees, one in fine arts and art history and the other in journalism.
Curious about the world and different cultures, Kolpaska packed her bags and came to Canada in 1999 when she was 26. Not speaking any English made journalism a tricky option so she pursued her artistic dreams. She was interested in making jewellery, enamoured by the variety of beautiful materials available. She draws inspiration from natural, raw materials that are not typical for jewellery such as wood, bark and leaves which make her pieces interesting and eclectic.
At first it didn’t seem possible that she could start her own business so quickly in a new country because it was such a big jump. Nevertheless, she was quickly noticed by Lida Boutique and Kaliyana. “Lida was very casual,” Kolpaska described. “While Kaliyana was really artistic and edgy so as an artist I was learning [different] passions here.”
“I was able to search new places, new mines. I started working with the gemstones.” This is how in 2005/2006 Kolpaska’s Canadian Gemstone Collection was born. Each item comes with a little card that reveals something about the location the gemstone is from, whether it be from Otter Lake in Quebec or the amethyst mine in Thunder Bay.
“There are pieces representing the Artic with all the beautiful hues of white and silky greys and shades of light blue, then deep burgundies of the Niagara Vineyards and the lush green of British Columbia, yellows and oranges and vibrant colours of the Manitoba fields. It’s how I see Canada. I want the world to see what I see.”