In a world where everything seems increasingly digital and fleeting, there’s something to be said for holding an actual book in your hands. I love the weight of it, the smell of “new book” as you turn the pages, and being able to linger over the images for as long as I want, knowing that they’ll still be there for years to come. I saved Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design for my annual family beach trip to Pajaro Dunes in Northern California. I must say that this book is a delight, and reading it while hearing the waves crash outside was pretty much a perfect afternoon.
In the introduction, Stellene writes, “A piece of jewelry, whether I am wearing it, buying it, or writing about it, always means infinitely more when I know who made it and, more importantly, why.” With this sentiment in mind, she highlights 17 different jewelry designers, “…a group of jewelers working today on what I believe are the collectibles of tomorrow.”
While I was familiar with some of these designers (and I feel privileged to have met a few of them), there were also names that were new to me. With each turn of the page, I got a glimpse behind the jewelry, and feasted on the delicious images accompanying each profile.
I learned that Elena Votsi sees her work as small sculptures. She even has some pieces on display on her coffee table! I read about the Bakelite creations form Mark Davis, who relishes that the material is indestructible. (Who knew?) Since it hasn’t been made since World War 2, he’s always on the hunt for Bakelite so he can fashion them into his luxe, yet not-too-serious jewlery. (photo from p.49)
I especially enjoyed the segment on Judy Geib; her jewelry has been on my “jewelry lust list” for quite some time. I’ve always admired that her work is perfectly imperfect. I was pleased to read, “I love the awkwardness and intimacy that each piece has because of how we make it, but I don’t ever want it to be ‘gallery jewelry.’ I want people to wear it.” This completely jives with my own view of her work. (photo from p.119)
Seven Bicakci is one of the designers who has achieved legendary status in my mind. In fact, I recall once at the Couture show I found myself in an elevator with him. I was so star struck, I couldn’t get a word out! (#epicfail) In his profile I was surprised to learn that he left school at only 11 years old and began to work for a goldsmith in his home town of Istanbul. I can see how the local architecture, such as the Blue Mosque, serve as endless inspiration for his intricate work. He has mastered the technique of inversely engraved instagios, as seen in the Stella Maris Ring. (photo from p. 155)
The index at the end of the the book is an added treat; each designer has a page showing their work featured in their profiles.