While all jewelry is art, sculptural jewelry is a special kind of art. It’s jewelry that thinks outside of the box—and indeed sometimes has trouble fitting into an actual box. Some sculptural jewelry is designed to be worn, boldly, while other pieces are intended more for display—whether that’s in your curio cabinet or in a modern art museum. Either way, these designs are far from boring. If you do find yourself wearing a piece of sculptural jewelry, savor the experience of participating in a work of art. After all, while these pieces are quite striking on their own, they ultimately draw attention to the exquisite contours of the human body.
Jeweler Lexi Daly created a series of sculptural necklaces from coffee shop waste including coffee cups, stir sticks, and coffee cup jackets. The series is intended to raise awareness about how much waste is created by disposable coffee cups. According to Daly’s website, “In 2010 Americans consumed 23 billion coffee cups. To create those cups 9 million trees were cut down, 5 billion gallons of water were used, creating 363 billion pounds of waste.”
“FireFall” features coffee cup jackets that have been folded, painted, and varnished. When worn, the necklace sounds like bamboo wind chimes blowing in a light breeze. The back of the necklace can be taken off, and a simple chain can be attached for times when the wearer would like a smaller version of the necklace. It would also make a lovely display piece.
Designed to position the human body as a site of display, Cheryl Eve Acosta’s sculptural jewelry combines various media (including silver, gold, copper, enamel, and fabric) to echo the natural world with an engaging twist. Acosta’s designs are inspired by the cycle of life as well as the beauty of coastal life and contemporary fashion.
“I am really inspired by fairy tales and fables. Especially those with a dark undertone or moral to the story, like the original versions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Aesop’s fables. Overall, stories are an important part of my creative process,” Emily Cobb says of her sculptural jewelry.
“I imagine plots and characters that inspire the jewelry’s composition and form, ” she says, “Then I think about material choice, how the work will interact with the body, etc. At this point, the story and the piece are not definitive. The appearance of the characters, or the direction of the plot, may change as the jewelry piece is designed and made.”
Cobb employs computer-assisted design (CAD), colored nylon, and photopolymers to brings her beautiful visions to life.
“I first design the jewelry pieces on the computer using a 3D modeling program called Rhinoceros, which I learned as an undergraduate at Tyler. When I finish building the digital 3D model, I send the file to a 3D printer. Finally, once I receive my 3D printed parts, I dye and assemble the pieces.”
After studying at Studio Berçot in Paris and working at Balenciaga in jewelry design, Charlotte Chesnais began her own jewelry line. Handcrafted in France, Chesnais’ unique sculptural jewelry blends fine craftsmanship with conceptual edge, combining sophisticated, contemporary lines with dainty minimalism. The designer’s materials include silver, vermeil, and 18 karat gold.
Samantha Nania’s creative work emphasizes preciousness—the idea that everything we wear or own should be cherished and well cared for.
Nania also prioritizes reducing her material waste and makes a point to use even the smallest bits of material. Her designs that include wood are created with excess cutoffs from furniture making and flooring installation. Indeed, no piece is too small to be used in a conscious and loving way.
Photo: Lexi Daly, Cheryl Eve Acosta, InLiquid Art + Design, Charlotte Chesnais, Samantha Nania
You've probably noticed asymmetrical jewelry lately. Whether it’s in the form of “mismatched” earrings or modern, amorphous clusters of stones, this trend combines a youthful spirit of creativity with contemporary elegance. The following pieces are all about individuality and breaking the rules with a twinkle in your eye. You’ll find that despite the apparent geometrical imbalance of this jewelry, each piece manifests its own, unique brand of visual balance.
Made with 100% reclaimed silver and cast from Central Park twigs, these sexy, oxidized sterling silver earrings come with a removable white silver pod. Perfect for sultry evenings out.
The subtle asymmetry of the silver band in this sapphire solitaire engagement ring comes from the twig that was cast for this ring. Sometimes the most beautiful things are found in nature—and nature plays by her own design rules.
These cleverly asymmetrical earrings are decorated with pave-set black diamonds, carved lapis, and suspended sapphire, smoky quartz, and tourmaline gemstones. Truly a glamorous set for the woman with a creative edge.
This remarkable ring is indeed an attention-grabbing statement piece that combines mixed metals and several small diamonds with a large pearl.
Inspired by crusty yet beautiful old boats and pier beams, these “mismatched” sterling silver barnacle studs are a fun choice for anyone who loves life by the beach.
These stunning asymmetrical earrings come with lots of movement and sparkle. They’re the jewelry equivalent of a fine glass of champagne accompanied by your favorite jazz track.
Described as “artfully imperfect,” this delicate bracelet combines small diamonds with a beautiful stone (choices include labradorite, blue opal, mother-of-pearl, and ruby).
Combining three trends in one—mantras, asymmetry, and chokers, oh my!—this fun, customizable necklace was created to remind us of what’s important in life.
What’s your favorite asymmetrical piece?
Photos: Barbara Michelle Jacobs, Tessa Packard London, Jordan Alexander, Casey Sharpe, Nordstrom