It happened on December 23, 1993, just a few years after Christiansen began
making jewelry, when he got a call from a friend, Jerry Kuns, a blind salesman and educator from southern California.
"I'd been working really hard just before Christmas to get things done," he says. "I'd cleaned the
place up and was out the door when the phone rang. I almost didn't go back to answer it, but I did. And it was my friend Jerry.
He said 'Kim, I've got somebody who wants to talk to you.'
I said, 'Who is it?'
He said, 'Stevie Wonder.'
I said, 'Yeah, right.'
"And this guy came to the phone, and it was Stevie Wonder!
"Jerry and his wife Theresa were at Stevie's studio in L.A., and Theresa wears my stuff a lot, and she showed
it to Stevie. He was enthralled by it, and wanted me to do a piece for his girlfriend for Christmas -- the day after
tomorrow, you know. So I stayed up all night, got it done, put it on Delta Dash, and he got it the next day.
"He loved it, and his girlfriend loved it."
clients might catch the eye, but it's the everyday people who touch his heart. Like the woman he met at a conference, who
had a crucifix bearing the Braille words "Love" and "God." It was gold plated over sterling silver; but
most of the plating had worn away. Christiansen offered to replace it; the woman refused. "She said, 'I gave this as
a gift to a woman who was dying of cancer. And she had my cross in her hands, and she would rub it every day. That's why the
cross is so worked, you know.'"
Or another of his satisfied customers: "This woman sent me a picture
of her blind daughter, sitting on her bedside with her pendant, just rubbing her pendant. She said, 'My daughter just cherishes
her pendant, she wears it all the time.'
His blind customers are
often profoundly touched by his jewelry. But he's attracted plenty of sighted customers, because of the simple beauty of his
pieces -- and the added bonus of a "hidden" message. He sells a set of earrings that say "Harmony" on
one ring and "Serenity" on the other. "People have said they put them on in the morning because the know they're
going to have a rough day. They feel like the earrings are supportive, and they like the fact that it's sort of a secret."
Of course, if they hand it to a blind person the secret's out.