Gisela von Eicken, jewelry designer

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Gisela von Eicken feeding nuts to pigeons and squirrels in Washington Square in June 2004.

BY ALBERT AMATEAU  |  Gisela von Eicken, a prominent jewelry designer and sculptor who lived and worked in her studio on Waverly Place for many years, died last August at the age of 78. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, said her friend Cynthia Hopkins.

Her jewelry, made of wire and stone, had been described as looking like museum objects, “something found in the sands of the desert — something ancient, something that speaks of our shared universal past.”

Von Eicken moved to the Village in 1975 from Chicago with her companion, Fred Hopkins, a bass player and brother of her friend Cynthia. He died in 1999.

She was born in Canada into an aristocratic German family and moved to Chicago where she was married for a time to Michel Smithe, a conga player with the Cal Tjader combo in the early 1970s.

She loved living in the Village and frequented Washington Square Park.

“She was passionate about her work, and about music, especially jazz,” her friend said.

Two daughters and a son survive.

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5 Responses to Gisela von Eicken, jewelry designer

  1. Jewelry designing just lost one of its most experienced veterans. Shopping at the jewelers in queens just won't be the same anymore. Godspeed Gisela von Eicken.

  2. Talk about a huge loss. She was one of my favorites. Not even the best long island jewelers can ever replace her.

  3. She has inspired a generation of jewelry designers. She will be missed by the jewel fashion industry like jewellery repairs melbourne.

  4. I am also a jewelry designer and now I am stay first step in this system. By reading your post I've come to know some handful concerning about the jewelry issue which helps me a lot to build-up my career as a jewelry designer.

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