Thursday, April 1, 2010


Built nearly 500 years ago, Puerto Rico's Fort San Felipe Del Morro, declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1983, still maintains an imposing aura of strength as it once served to guard the city of San Juan against seafaring enemies. Puerto Rico is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Luciá Nieves Cortés.

Cortés' artistic vision is broad incorporating an assortment of materials such as wool, sterling silver, Plexiglas, leather, Lucite, and 18-karat gold.

Though her overall design aesthetic is clean, her jewelry concepts are somewhat atypical given to unusual textures and gorgeous bursts of color that provide loads of visual impact.

"I have been drawing, painting, and playing with clay since I can remember," she says. "Initially I made jewelry as a teenager working with beads.

I wanted to learn how to work with metals, and I taught myself for a few years but I felt that I needed a real education in goldsmithing so I went to Germany, where I now live, to attend Staatliche Zeichenakademie Hanau. I learned jewelry design and fabrication, and I have been working on my collection, SNoU since 2008."

Her jewelry line, the name of which is the English translation of her name Nieves that means and is pronounced snow, is varied.  Styles range from complex work with silver wire to sculpted thermo heated plastic to entwined configurations of vibrantly colored wool necklaces that are reminiscent of intricate, African beadwork.

The interconnected strands of wool highlight colors such as peacock blue, red, orange, fuchsia, and green. The long neckpieces can be layered with others, and they fall in a somewhat random, organic manner slightly curled and coiled.

One such example of a layering of long necklaces called Sirena, a vivid display of complementary shades of blue and aqua, is suggestive of a mesh of seaweed. The designer also creates single, wool neckpieces in doily, web-like patterns.

Her metal pieces are equally beautiful conceptual works as she perforates the metal of her sterling silver Luna Ring, and creates irregular facets in lovely 18-karat yellow gold for her Krystall Ring.

Of course, the luscious, opaque color of her Lucite and Plexiglas rings and earrings conveys a sense of fun, playfulness, and well-being.

"Implementing color and unconventional materials in unexpected ways is central to my work. I love the play of the materials like leather, textiles, and thermoformed plastics working them into different forms," she says.

Photo 1 (top right): Entwined Wool Sirena Necklace
Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Luna Ring
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