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Internationally-known jewelry artist happy on the prairie

Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 10:09 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A store in downtown York could easily be in New York or Los Angeles, but Kerri Kliewer with The Jewelers Vault is perfectly happy in Nebraska.

We visited The Jewelers Vault recently. It turns out that Kliewer, who is from the Henderson area, has been involved with the jewelry industry for years. “I began my journey in the jewelry business 35 years ago,” Kliewer said. “I started in custom design and wholesale. Through the years, I’ve met great designers, and so finally the dream came true, and I opened this store.”

Kliewer is definitely a jewelry artist. She produces her own pieces, many of them made out of fossilized woolly mammoth or dinosaur bone. “I set that in gold or fine stones. This put me on a national playing field, because it’s so unusual to work with that kind of material. It has to be hand-collected in Alaska by the native Alaskans, and cut by them. I have a supplier there in Alaska that I work with, and he hand cuts everything to how I’d like it. It actually provides a good living for the people there, who otherwise might not have a way to make a living.”

The Jewelers Vault not only features Kliewer’s jewelry, but many other artists. “I wholesale for a company out of Austria, and we source really unique stones and material,” Kliewer said. “Through that, I’ve met designers from Chicago, Italy, even a ring designer from Israel. I am able to feature these designers at the store.”

Some York residents may remember The Jewelers Vault building as the Recipe Box restaurant at one time. Kliewer says when she renovated the building, she found a unique storefront previously covered in tin. She also says she loves being in York. “This whole area has been my home since I was married,” Kliewer said. “I’m originally from western Nebraska, so I’m truly a Nebraska girl. I’m excited that I’m located here, and clients can come in. We also have a good website. With the internet, we can reach a world-wide audience, so it’s the best of both worlds. I get to have my small town here in Nebraska, which I love. And yet, I still have my audience and my clients.”

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