J. F. Kruse Artisan Spotlight: Michael Janetis
As professional jewelers, we’re honored to have relationships with talented designers from all over the globe. Today, we’d like you to meet one of our partners who happens to live right in our own backyard. Michael Janetis of Janetis and Company Designs casts his gorgeous line of handcrafted jewelry locally—from start to finish—in his Sartell studio.
Michael pours his soul into every piece he creates, celebrating the organic lines and natural beauty of metal and stone. He wants each piece to tell a story, to inspire, to celebrate the beauty around us and honor the spirit within us.
We’re excited to welcome Michael to our J.F. Kruse family and share his inspirational story with you!
Tell us about your background and your journey to becoming a jewelry designer.
I was born in Long Island, NY, into a home shattered by violence, substance abuse, and poverty. I had a difficult time learning and focusing as a child, so I really wrestled with my self-worth and developed some pretty noticeable insecurities. I think my childhood experiences caused me to feel deeper and empathize more with others. I also wasn’t very confident in my physical abilities, so I was pretty terrible at sports. I was, however, fascinated with the arts at a young age—music, painting, sculpting, and acting. I submersed myself and excelled in music and art which pushed me to try new mediums.
In my early 20’s, I was introduced to several East Coast metalsmiths who inspired me to begin self-training through lots of reading and trial and error. As I grew, I learned that my art gave me a voice to share my story and the ability to make others feel treasured and valued. It gave me a medium to offer hope and inspiration to others.
“I am a lover of people, a lover of the underdog and I am fascinated by the stories of others… their accomplishments, even more so their struggles, the mess, the process, the journey.”
Your pieces have an organic, substantial style that seems to breathe a modern twist into old world designs. As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration?
My family heritage is Greek so I have always been fascinated with the ancient Greek-Roman Era in everything from the architecture to symbolism. I am inspired by the lives of those around me, by the beauty, the joy, and the pain. I am a mere steward of the inspiration I am blessed to receive from others.
Do you have a signature piece of jewelry that reflects your vision?
I would say our “Axios” ring. The word Axios means “worthy” in the Greek language. The Axios is hand hammered and oxidized black, so it is very raw and rustic in nature. For me, the Axios ring communicates that no matter how bruised, marred or tarnished your past has been, you are worthy of love. I want people to wear my pieces as a reminder that they are worthy and valuable, that they are royalty.
What kind of person wears your jewelry?
People who are totally rad! I would say those who see beauty in simplicity. Those who like modern industrial and rustic, yet refined design.
What do you envision as upcoming trends in the jewelry design industry?
I see a resurrection of the Renaissance, much like modern relics and heirlooms that family members will be proud to pass to the next generation. At least this is what I want to create.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and what made it so special?
I have had many, but one that was incredibly humbling was for the family of a soldier who had passed. The family came to me with the rifle shell casings from the honor guard’s 21-gun salute. They asked if I was able to make something out of the brass casings. I melted them down in my crucible and cast three crosses for the three sons of a great man who served his country.
Your company’s mission statement reminds us that life is both messy and beautiful. How does this influence your daily work?
Life is organic. It’s fluid, unpredictable and messy. It’s why my pieces will always be carved by hand and never on a software to be milled on a machine. For me, there is authentic beauty in the inconsistencies. It reminds me of humanity and the beauty in the chaos, that it is our flaws and our imperfections that make us who we are; perfect and beautiful.
Like Michael, we believe every person has a story. And we’d love to learn yours. Stop by our showroom to view our selection of Janetis and Company jewelry and let us help you choose a piece that honors your journey.
When It’s Forever - J. F. Kruse Fine and Custom Jewelers
HONORED to be YOUR family jeweler.