A GOOD INVESTMENT
Expand your fine jewellery collection with pieces by United States-based designers, artists and goldsmiths who are destined to be tomorrow’s collectable stars. Gems & Jewellery contributor, Olga González FGA DGA, gives her pick of the best…
North America hosts a treasure trove of contemporary jewellers. Many are being collected by museums, fashionistas and gemologists alike. For this themed issue of Gems & Jewellery we have created a roundup of some of the most collectable jewellers today — covering style, how they got started, their first works, inspiration, their thoughts on jewellery as an investment, and how their pieces fit into the North American aesthetic, in their own words…
“Since 1995, I have been dedicated exclusively to one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery. I strive for originality and innovative expression. Whether exploring systems in motion, the metamorphosis of insects, or the pace of urban life, my passion first awakens in the transformation of the raw material. Each metal has its own properties, and I often juxtapose two metals together in a search for equilibrium within my asymmetric design. In fact, I never search for a futuristic look for my pieces, but everyone describes my art like this, which is fine with me. Does this come from my fascination for the world of Jules Verne? Films like Around the World in 80 Days (1956) are still today a source of inspiration to me.”
“I love to spend my spare time at the botanical gardens. I enjoy looking at the beautiful flowers, their shapes and colours. They always inspire me to create a new design for my jewellery. I especially love the chrysanthemum; it is one of the most exquisite, delicate and sophisticated flowers. This is why you can see chrysanthemums in almost all of my collections. I love working with silver. It is a marvellous and amazing metal, yet has an elegant and cold look, and to add some emotion and feelings to my repoussé pieces, I use gemstones and gold.”
“Unless you are buying investment-grade diamonds, which often are not worn, I suggest that the jewel be something you love. Fine jewels have an intrinsic value, and there are designers whose pieces have increased considerably in value as the artists become well-known. Important jewels have value as treasured objects to be a part of an inherited estate. And some gems rise in value as they become more and more rare, as mines run out of gem rough. But primarily, I think you should buy with your heart.”
“As an artist, I buy artwork, including jewellery, when I feel it is powerful, conceptually, or aesthetically resonant for me. It’s personal, but there has to be a level of virtuosity, and that comes with experience and vision on the part of the maker. I say buy what speaks to you, challenges you, inspires you. One wonderful thing about jewellery is it often comes with a memory, an occasion of sentiment. I have several pieces I cherish because of who wore it before me or the memory of the person who gave it to me. It certainly takes up less space than sculpture.”
“My first work included brass, copper, and silver. I liked the complimentary look of tone on tone. For many years, I didn’t work with gems. I began to incorporate textures of reticulated silver to earrings, bracelets, rings, etc. After a while, it felt like a natural progression to begin incorporating gemstones into my jewellery.”
“The way I see it is that the concept of jewellery as an investment is similar to investing in art, especially when it comes to artisan and handmade jewellery. It is a longterm investment that can be passed down in a family for generations as an heirloom. My jewellery combines European style old-world luxury with a touch of modern. It is for the buyer who loves bold statement pieces that are unique, artistic and timeless. My clients are collectors who love creative statement pieces,” says Sinork Agdere, owner and designer, Lord Jewelry.
“I’m sure different knowledgeable people would have differing opinions about what the ‘Americanness’ of my work might be. In addition to fine art, I studied anthropology, particularly symbols and archetypes. I find that the beauty of my work speaks to people from many cultures and walks of life. My hope is to create artwork that transcends the bounds of time and place. That said, I have used the amazing gemstones of the American gem cutters who emerged at the same time as I was getting started. I have incorporated the work of these modern masters in my jewels for decades. Their work is as creative and innovative as the American culture that spawned them.”
THOMAS HERMAN, SEVEN FINGERS JEWELRY
“In 1983, I stumbled into the Van Craeynest jewellery factory in San Francisco. I wouldn’t leave until they gave me a job. It was the most impressive place I had seen where jewellery was made. That was my college — I got paid to go to the best art school. Larry van Craeynest taught me that if I wanted to make good work, I needed to make good tools first. I came in an hour early and stayed two hours late, often working through the lunch hour, to make tools so that I could make better work. If I wanted to learn how to chase, I had to make a chasing hammer from scratch, then make the chasing tools. The people who worked there were by far the best craftsmen I had ever met, and yet they had absolutely no ego about it. It was merely the level that was expected. I was soon embraced by this group of metalsmiths.” Each of these designers has created a signature look and voice through his or her jewellery, which is being recognised by their contemporaries. If you are looking to add a piece to your wardrobe, these artists offer an exceptional place to start.”
This article was featured in 2020 Volume 29 of Gems and Jewellery Magazine publish by Gem-A. To learn more about Gems & Jewellery Magazine click here.