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The Inspiration Behind the Metal Elements Collection

May 26, 2022 5 min read

woman wearing metal elements necklace

Strong women – strong choices – strong jewelry.

My inspirations for the Metal Elements Collection are the women who is don’t get caught up in following trends, and definitely have their own sense of style.

When creating the metal elements collection my intent is to infuse the pieces with a sense of power and focus for the women who wear them.

silver and gold tab earrings

Silver & Gold Tab Earrings

ORIGIN OF DESIGN

This collection has been evolving since my early years of fabricating jewelry —  too many decades to ponder as I made and sold my first pieces in grade school. But the origin was simply life experiences and memories coming together creatively. 

Metal Elements was not inspired by a specific place as much as by times and epochs.  Discoveries from my travels that found their way into my designs include a “mace” bead for symbolically bludgeoning obstacles out of our way, an “eye of protection” (because who doesn’t need someone/something looking out for them?), and my square symbol of the four winds which was an addition that came from my time at sea and a nod to all who help us find our way. 

The mace and spikes are from the Medieval period. Some of the ringlets and textures were inspired by the Celts. Gold textured disks were inspired by two societies that worshiped the sun. Both the Nabateans who built the city of Petra in Jordan and Shintoism in Japan were influenced by the use of these disks. The Hindus worship Surya – the sun deity. I love weaving these beliefs into the positive experience of wearing one of my pieces.

I also like the concept of talismans. The definition of a talisman is “an object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and bring good luck.”

triple charm necklace

Triple charm elements necklace This is my fanciful trio of talismans. The disk for the Hindu sun gold Surya shining light on the world, my square symbol of the four winds and the spike as protection.

Other pieces, such as the reticulated silver with 22kt gold keum-boo, represent how richly textured our lives can be – ups and downs, hills and valleys.

Learn more: Keum-boo Jewelry: An Introductory Guide

THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF A COLLECTION

Because my pieces are designed to be worn over a lifetime, the metals I choose to incorporate into my collections are durable and will not change in color. My jewelry is fabricated with 925 sterling silver18k vermeil, 22k gold keum-boo, black rhodium, oxidized silver, and white rhodium. The white rhodium also keeps sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing.  

Learn more: What is Rhodium Plated Jewelry: 14 Frequently Asked Questions

I do not like to say that one metal is “better" than the other. Throughout history, precious metal has held more value. You can create a fun piece out of copper or brass, and I have done both. But this collection is a higher level of quality and fabrication. There is a richness to kt. gold that simply cannot be duplicated with any other material.

As a designer who loves texture in my actual pieces, I also love the visual texture of weaving different metals into a cohesive and beautiful whole. Small diamonds and an occasional bit of black spinel are used for sparkling accents, and precious and semi-precious colored gemstones are sprinkled throughout the collection.

Metal is durable. Metal is forever. This is important if you want to wear pieces for a lifetime.

diamond disk necklace

Diamond Disk Necklace This necklace features a Keum-boo disk with bezel set diamond.

VERSATILITY IN DESIGN

Metal Elements is a perfect mix of wearable sculptures fabricated on a small scale, creating pieces that are collectible for a lifetime. Beyond that, the collection is versatile because the long pieces can be worn several ways, and the variety of metals inspires wearers to think outside of the box and give in to their own creativity.

While it sounds like a contradiction when I say the collection is also understated, it is. You might miss the individual sculptures incorporated into the pieces unless you really look at them. You will see the beauty of the piece but not the intricate details fabricated into each piece.

silver and rhodium wrap necklace

Silver and White Rhodium Avalon This necklace is also available in Black and Gold.

There is also variety in the techniques used in the studio. This collection is 95% fabricated using the following techniques.

  1. Reticulation -Using controlled heat to create ripples and ridges on metal surfaces.
  2. Keum-boo -An ancient Korean gilding technique used to apply thin sheets of gold to silver, to make silver-gilt. 
  3. Bezel Setting -A bezel setting is a style of setting where the stone is surrounded by a metal rim, rather than clutched by the four or six prongs you’re used to seeing in a solitaire setting.
  4. Pave Diamond Setting -A pavé setting is a type of ring setting in which the shank of the ring is lined with small diamonds. These pavé set diamonds are held in place with metal prongs or beads, creating the appearance of a line of continuous small diamonds.
  5. Acid Etching -Acid Etching is the process of cutting a hard surface, such as metal, using a specially formulated acid for etching (etchant) in order to create a design on the metal. Both Q and Sarah use this technique in the studio.
  6. Roller Printing -The technique consists of squeezing a textured material into a sheet of metal by using the force of the rolling mill. 
  7. Handmade Chains - Making chains in the studio by hand adds a personal touch to each chain.
  8. Anticlastic Raising -The process of forging a piece of metal by hand with a ball-peen hammer so that it has opposite curvature at given points.

Consider that all of the following “search terms” may apply to the Metal Elements Collection: Black & Gold jewelry, edgy jewelry, architectural, geometric, kinetic jewelry, sculptural jewelry, textured metal jewelry, mixed metal jewelry, wearable sculpture, talismans, one of a kind jewelry. That, too, is a mark of the collection’s versatility.

keum-boo double disk earrings

Keum-boo Double Disk Earrings Keum-Boo technique with champagne diamonds.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Originally this collection was known as my TREASURES collection. Ha – far be it from me to be original. Do you know how many people have collections named “Treasures? So the more I thought about it, the more “Elements” came to mind. Both the different properties of metal on the Periodic Table and also the individual sculptural elements brought together into one perfectly woven piece of adornment.

Like all of my work, this collection continues to evolve with my travel experiences. While I have closed out collections from my past, I think it’s safe to say Metal Elements is here to stay. 

View the full Metal Elements Collection.

Interested in the inspiration behind other Q collections? Check out A Quiet Collection - Pura Vida.


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