For These Jewelry Designers, All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

Although metals, gemstones and pearls have been the staples of jewelry layout for centuries, some makers are now getting inspiration in much more strange elements, these types of as glass, horn and wooden. Even soda cans.

“Disposable cans and plastics have been regarded inadequate for jewelry,” mentioned Eunseok Han, a jewelry artist primarily based in Seoul. “However, I imagined we could make attractive jewellery with these discarded non-important components.”

Listed here are the tales of Ms. Han and 4 other designers who are doing the job to elevate unconventional materials to jewellery art.

Seoul, South Korea

“I began building jewellery with recycled cans in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic started,” Ms. Han, 49, stated in a video clip job interview from her atelier in the Korean funds. She famous that she experienced been thinking about doing the job with discarded objects for some time, but the environmental enhancements that transpired all through the early lockdowns — like the international decrease in greenhouse gases — impressed her to get started experimenting, crafting items out of aluminum soda and beer cans.

Pals and loved ones now provide her with cans, and she collects other folks from recycling bins — separating them by color and lettering model — then reducing just about every can into parts and utilizing adhesives to glue the parts with each other. The last portion of the method will involve making use of polylactic acid, a renewable plastic generally known as PLA, to affix the aluminum pieces close to a core in the shape that she desires to create.

“I want bright colors,” Ms. Han said, introducing that she sees this eye-catching palette as a way of focusing attention on the vibrant hues of corals that are disappearing since of pollution and worldwide warming. Her collection consists of earrings, rings, brooches and necklaces, with scaled-down parts starting up at $300 and more intricate kinds heading for $1,500.

Ms. Han started building jewelry in 2000 after earning a Master of Fantastic Arts in metalcraft from Dongduk Women’s University in Seoul. At first, she generated classic Korean models in gold and silver she then began incorporating gems, wood, plastic and enamel into her items for much more wide range. She sells her get the job done as a result of her Instagram account and by means of galleries this kind of as the Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, Mass. Charon Kransen Arts in New York Town and Bini Gallery in Melbourne, Australia.

“As we go the Covid-19 era, we recognize again the significance of mother nature and the require for endeavours to maintain it,” Ms. Han mentioned. “As an artist, I’m generating jewellery out of recycled cans in a tiny exertion to do my part.”

Los Angeles

Ms. Wheeler, 37, stated she thought that there’s something about wood, in specific, that designed for particular jewelry. “I imagine it delivers a serious grounding, earthy aspect to it. It’s so dense and darkish,” she mentioned in a online video interview from her dwelling in Los Angeles.

Not long ago the designer has been performing with ebony. Because the Global Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the material as endangered, she experienced to come across an moral way to acquire it. “It ended up currently being a sculptor who had purchased a huge log in the ’80s and experienced some still left around,” she stated. For her Belle earrings and cuff set, ($119,000 for the earrings and $116,000 for the cuff), Ms. Wheeler paired the darkish wood with diamonds, white enamel and light pink morganite. “I have always favored to incorporate matte carved material with additional regular faceted gemstones,” she claimed.

The designer, who is self-taught, launched her great jewelry selection in 2016. She now will work with a sustainability mentor to assure that her types are produced of recycled gold and responsibly sourced gems, and she generally employs community artisans in the United States to craft her patterns, in order to lessen squander and minimize the carbon effects of her operate. “Nothing we make is mass created,” she reported. “We glance at the particular person piece and think: ‘Who is the ideal person to make this piece?’”

This summer, Ms. Wheeler released a new collection, termed Bernadette, in honor of her daughter, who was born in April. The layouts, which pair lively hues with comfortable pastels, are a nod to 1960s assertion items. “These have petrified wood on the outside the house,” she stated, referring to the Painted Desert earrings. ($50,000) “This unique piece I observed in Tucson, and it was just so vibrant and stunning.”

Ms. Wheeler’s jewelry is bought on her web site and by Net-a-Porter, as effectively as in merchants, like Harrods in London and boutiques these as Elyse Walker in California and Marissa Collections in Naples, Fla.

Yamanashi, Japan

Glass is the only content used by Bubun, the jewelry line designed by the spouse-and-partner workforce of Megumi Jin, 38, and Nobuyuki Jin, 43. In Japanese, bubun is the term for “part” — the few chose it for their manufacturer since they feel jewellery turns into “part of a human being, both equally in the actual physical perception and in the non secular feeling,” Ms. Jin wrote in an electronic mail from their household and workshop in Yamanashi, Japan.

The pair achieved about 10 many years back whilst they were working for a leather-based items producer they left in 2016 to start Bubun. “Nobuyuki saw a pair of glass earrings that I experienced been creating and mentioned he wanted to establish a selection centered on them,” Ms. Jin said, including that she initially became fascinated with glass as a teen.

“Over the decades, I have arrive to sense that glass is a medium that can convey an inner emotion that is hard to express in words and phrases alone,” she said. “It’s not a normal material for jewelry, and in contrast to cherished metals and treasured stones, the substance alone has minor value. But its benefit is created by the intensity of expression of its strategy, form, procedure and handwork.”

The couple craft their jewellery from glass that has been made for industrial use — plate glass, glass rods and glass pipes created in Japan, Germany and China. They reduce and form the glass, performing the glass at a really small temperature, then wrap a obvious thread all-around each and every piece and sew people parts with each other.

Every single piece in the Organ series, which the couple primarily based on their interpretation of physique tissue, is manufactured of dozens of round parts. “We experience that transparent, light-weight-permeable glass is a product that, when worn, visually blurs the boundary in between the entire body and its atmosphere and loosely links them with each other,” Ms. Jin reported.

The pieces, which are handmade by the Jins on their own, are priced involving 20,000 and 50,000 yen ($148-$370). The designers market the items from their on the net store, and they have stockists each in Japan and all-around the earth.

Nanyuki, Kenya

Producing from her residence in Nanyuki, on the northwestern slopes of Mount Kenya, Ms. Dejak explained that her jewellery and components are about “capturing the spirit of Africa — her prosperity, her character, her tradition — and bringing other folks into this expertise.”

One particular substance that the designer utilizes are horns from Ankole cows, which she obtains from reclaimed horn suppliers in neighboring Uganda. Ms. Dejak then has neighborhood artisans method the prolonged, upward-curving horns, which the workers at her Nairobi atelier in convert vogue into earrings, pendants and bracelets. (She now employs 12 whole-time staff, considerably much less than the 40 she used just before weathering economic problems.)

The designer notes that she also uses other environmentally pleasant materials, such as recycled fridges, doorknobs and automobile engines, alongside with “recycled metals sourced at scrap marketplaces and offered for each kilo.” Her brass jewellery retails for $40 to $510, although the bags created of cowhide with Ankole horn fittings operate $80 to $910. Both the jewellery and the baggage are sold on-line and at merchants around the environment.

Ms. Dejak was born in Kano, Nigeria. “Ever since I was young, I admired my mom and grandmother’s model. They wore bold, vibrant adornments, and they impressed my adore for African, handmade equipment,” she reported. She graduated with a law degree from Middlesex University in England, but then made the decision to analyze typographical style at the London School of Communication.

As a self-taught designer, she began the manufacturer under the title Magik Grace and rebranded in 2009 less than her individual name. “My collections are seriously motivated by Kenyan tribes,” she stated. “The Turkana, Samburu and the Masai system adornments and culture have had a large effects.”

About the Author: AKDSEO

You May Also Like