Talking about her husband, Michael Baksa’s jewelry, painter Teresa Baksa said, “You really have to hold it in your hand to get the full impact of these works of art.” Baksa, who was born and grew up on Cape Cod, lives in a circa 1750 home owned by one of the many historic Quaker Kelleys. He created the new woodwork and cabinets as well as remodeled the upstairs and built the garage which houses the sleek wooden wherry he made by hand and rows on the Bass River. His mum was a well- known baker and in the 1970s, the Cape was a “hothouse of crafters” Teresa said, and the congenial gestalt fed into Michael’s handiness.
Baksa works in a yellow and white spiffy cabin cruiser that he transported to his home, where he put in a dock with a stairway fitted with aluminum stairs to access its galley studio. It’s shipshape and fitted with hand and power tools with which he cuts gems, polishes them and then solders on 14 carat gold settings. Though he has a design table tucked into a corner of this studio, he’s been doing it so long, the pieces just come forth, inspired by how the minerals speak to him.
His earrings, rings, pendants, bracelets and necklaces are works of art, each unduplicatable and one of a kind. The luscious earrings look edible as I pick up a pendant of freshwater pearl and cabochon amethyst, then one of pink tourmaline with peach sapphires. He may use hematite set with gold, pair amethyst and citrine or create a glittering gold work out of pyrite with a melon-colored companion of tourmaline. One piece is nuggets of blue dioptase mixed with chunky pale quartz. There’s an imperial glittering ring of topaz, yellow sapphire and emerald, or one of “flower cut” aquamarine in a gold scroll of a base. His pieces are like Christmas surprises. Fascinating shapes, pairing tear drop with square, oval with round, globules and windows. Sybaritic treasure. I asked him what made him create beautiful things for women: “Basically I started when I was a teenager and found it made women pay attention to me!” he answered.