Winifred Mason Chenet
A Greenwich Village Jeweler
Winifred Mason Chenet pushed boundries in her art and her surrounding circles. Working in Greenwich Village, New York, she immersed herself in the intellectual artist circles of the 1940s. A true New Yorker, Winifred Mason Chenet was born in 1918 to a West Indies couple, three years after their arrival in Manhattan. She is considered the first African American professional jeweler known by name.
Winifred Mason Chenet received a BA in English Literature and an MA from New York University. Mason Chenet discovered her own talents as an art jewelry while teaching metalsmithing to local children. She was self taught and worked mostly in bronze and copper. Her jewelry explored the arts of the West Indian Negro and her designs received great admiration. By 1943, she had a studio in Greenwich Village at 133 West 3rd Street, where she employed Art Smith and sold to department stores, such as Lord & Taylor. During the 1940s, she exhibited and attracted a larger audience with clients such as Billie Holiday. Her later years were spent between Haiti and New York.
It is time that every jewelry fan know the name Winifred Mason Chenet.