Pavel Opochensky

Opochensky was born in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia, in 1954 and grew up under Czechoslovakia’s communist regime. Though artistically inclined, he did not become specifically interested in jewelry design until the age of fifteen, when he worked in a metal workshop. After apprenticing there for three years, Opochensky traveled to Prague. He studied at the School for Jewelry Design in Jablonec, Czechoslovakia from 1971-1972, and at the School for Jewelry and Metals in Turnov, Czechoslovakia from 1973-1974, though he finished neither program in order to pursue his studio work. However, he had difficultly establishing himself as an artist, because he did not have the proper education and was not a member of the Communist Party. He produced and sold his jewelry illegally at that time. He would occasionally work with gold by melting down scraps, but more often worked in wood and brass because of the restricted access to gold.

In 1979, Opochensky crossed illegally into West Germany. He then moved to New York in 1982 in pursuit of more opportunities. Two months after arriving, his work was being exhibited. He also began working with ivory while in the United States. In 1990, Opochensky returned to Czechoslovakia, where he advised other artists based on his experiences in Western countries. He now lives in Prague, where he continues to design jewelry and create art.

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