For more than 40 years, jewelry designer and metalsmith Shelly Culea has been immersed in the study and practice of her craft, amassing a number of notable accomplishments in the process. As founder and proprietor of Shelly Culea Jewelry & Silversmithing in Mequon, Wisconsin, Shelly Culea invests her work with an overall commitment to professional excellence and a deep passion for jewelry design, as evidenced by her impressive history of artistic achievement. Widely recognized as a leading figure in commission-based jewelry design in the greater Milwaukee region, Shelly Culea recently appeared at the Museum of Wisconsin Art to discuss her craft and show her pieces in a retrospective on her work. In addition, she was responsible for cleaning and restoring Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Emil F. Kronquist collection, an assortment of jewelry, vases, and miscellaneous metalwork from an apprentice to “the Tiffany of Silver,” Georg Jensen. A leader in the local arts community, Shelly Culea maintains membership in the Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council.

The driving force behind Shelly Culea Jewelry & Silversmithing since 1973, Shelly Culea gained early success in the field of jewelry design as a freelance designer for Jewelmont Corporation, one of the top jewelry manufacturers and distributors in the United States. Over a four-year period, Shelly Culea designed rings, pendants, and other items for Jewelmont, which sold her creations in major department and jewelry stores across the country. During this time, her work was featured in Dayton’s Christmas catalog, as well as such stores as Zales, Scheherazade Jewelers, and Lowell Lundeen Jewelry. Previously, Shelly Culea honed her craft as a Bench Jeweler at Kirchner Corporation in Minneapolis, where she sized, repaired, and restored jewelry. A graduate of The University of Kansas, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewelry and Silversmithing.


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