I see beaucoup jewelry on a daily basis: online, in-person in showrooms, at trade events, in magazines... I make it my business to check out what's selling, what's getting lots of coverage and what everyone is wearing (helps that I love doing this!) But I have to say that the exhibit I visited this past Friday surprised me in the best kind of way. I saw pieces that really pushed boundaries, truly innovative, unique perspectives and aesthetics, jewelry that made me FEEL something. It was a fairly intimate setting, the 2nd floor of the Museum of Arts & Design at Columbus Circle. Each of the exhibitors just had a small showcase featuring their best work, and almost all were staffed by the actual designers. At most trade shows you meet with sales reps who certainly know the line, but it's so refreshing to be able to speak directly with the designers themselves, who in this case I have to say were true artisans, without exception. Following are some highlights from my favorite interactions. The exhibit doesn't have a proper website but you can check out their Tumblr page here for more information on all of the participating designers or here for the MAD event page.
This Germany-based goldsmith presented his line of "kinetic" rings. Very geometric shapes but everything with round edges, in silver as well as gold. Interesting that he chose to present each piece on a simple white plate - I'm sure it was his own idea, just coincidental that Delfina Delettrez leveraged the same concept in her presentation in Paris last week! In any event, the aesthetic wasn't exactly my style but I loved the movement, it was so fluid! Here's my attempt to capture how one of the rings works:
This designer has a line crafted in olive wood with huge statement stones like geodes and drusy... close to my heart as my mother-in-law did a similar concept years ago and her anemone ring is my favorite favorite piece of jewelry. Christine is based in Brooklyn and also has a stunning, sculptural silver line.
I didn't get to actually meet this designer but she's based in Korea and I fell in love with her dreamy cocoons and blossoms of spun wire, amazing how she is able to capture such lightness!
I spent quite a bit of time with this Austria/Milan-based artist who does stunning work in silver. Her finishes are amazing, some layered with her own words and images. I especially liked the pieces featuring stars and moons.
What I loved about Ashley's work in hand-cut, powder-coated metal is that it could be equally at home in a gallery or featured on a contemporary e-commerce site. I wouldn't be surprised if you start seeing her line in editorial, blogs and the like. These are not your run of the mill statement necklaces!
Gus has developed a unique process that allows him to create organic wood forms that remain flexible - he uses reclaimed wood and all eco-friendly practices. Beyond the interesting story, the pieces are gorgeous - kind of rough but so sophisticated at the same time. I went crazy for the bracelets in particular - coils, cuffs and knots that are made for layering/stacking and looked amazing with my favorite wood ring.
Beads have kind of saturated the market, not so interesting to me anymore. But I have to make an exception for Claire's line of necklaces and bracelets; the beadwork is more like mosaic work with gorgeous subtle ombres in both the beading and the semiprecious stones attached. Her sense of color is extraordinary - it's obvious that she is an artist as well as an artisan.
JEE HYE KWON
I didn't have the opportunity to meet this Brooklyn-based artist but one of the docents let me try on the below ring... I find her work fasinating. The forms are organic but the patterns/textures feel industrial, almost mathematical.
Based in Argentina, this designer is all about folding metal, almost draping it in interesting ways. Her necklaces and rings are huge and bold, so Mme Chanel's rule about balancing your jewels would certainly apply - I kind of think you might want to design your outfit around one of these pieces instead of vice-versa! I also really admired the simplicity and craftsmanship on the below toggle necklace - simple, chic, perfect.
The stippled effect that this Paris-based designer achieves in her Nuee Dentelle - "Lace Cloud" - collection is delicate and allows light to pass through in a very lovely way. I am putting the below earrings on my wish list, I can already envision them with so many ensembles, love!
Based in Hungary, Janka has this very balanced aesthetic, her work feels like the definition of contemporary. I really liked her take on geometric, almost Mondrian-like shapes softened with a pastel palette of colors. Extremely feminine - in fact, the necklace below is part of her "Essentia Femina" Collection.
Arek is also based in Hungary. I was drawn immediately to his showcase when I entered the room. Swarovski jewels suspended in geometric cages shaped like jewels, love the concept, it's just executed so beautifully.
Young, bright and full of charisma, this designer definitely sees beyond the box and creates sculpture as jewelry, rather than just sculptural jewelry. She's developed some interesting bangles and rings, but the showstopper was the "necklace" below. As Samantha explained, it looks great with an evening dress but she likes just wearing it with a t-shirt and jeans - so millenial of her.
An Israeli living in Paris, Tzuri has collaborated with major (think haute couture) fashion houses on capsule collections featuring his patented "lace fed with silicone" method. It's pretty out there, the textures and forms are fantastic, they seem pulled from abstract paintings. So editorial, so runway, so FFF-Fashion David Bowie-style!