Taking a little over two decades to build, the "16-sided stone masonry" structure, known as the Nott Memorial, is a unique, dome-top building situated at the center of Schenectady, New York's Union College. New York is also the home base for brand David Lee Holland Jewelry.
Originally from Selma, Alabama Holland refers to his luminous, nature-inspired bijouterie as "golden garden jewelry" as his life-like pieces are gorgeous replications of everything flora.
Holland hand fabricates acorn caps, eucalyptus and laurel leaves, and even coffee beans using yellow, white, green, rose, and black 18-karat gold.
His attention to detail, the organic aspect of the overall piece, the color, and texture of the gold and gemstone accents really draws the eye.
Outside of the idiosyncratic minutiae he implements, Holland keeps the outline structures simple.
The realness of the pieces is immensely striking even in the instances where he recreates the bark of thistle brush and mimosa trees, the cross-section of a corkscrew willow, or a tiny twig from an Oak branch.
"I don't just see a tree when I look at a tree, I see a sculpture," he says. "I feel sometimes like I am creating a permanent record of something that is disappearing from the planet."
His parents, Homer and Doris, influenced Holland's affinity for nature and eventual advent into the jewelry industry. Many years of strolling along his mother's well-kept gardens in Alabama helped to cultivate his love for the natural world.
"My mother had a beautiful home with lots of gardens and plants," he says. "I love coming to Alabama, seeing and collecting the leaves."
Although his mother is the proprietor of a high-end jewelry store, and his father is among the first members of the American Gem Society, as well as serving as an instructor at Selma's Holland School for Jewelers, Holland did not feel pressure to pursue a career in the jewelry industry.
After attending the University of Alabama, Holland relocated to New York working for fashion publications Vogue and Vanity Fair. Once he chose to design jewelry, he knew it was a perfect fit.
"Jewelry is very personal. That is what makes it special as a jeweler. Clients buy it knowing they will leave it to their children or their grandchildren."
Holland also specializes in custom-designed pieces and designs a sterling silver collection featuring thick, rope-edge links holding beautiful, bold-colored sapphires, citrine, amethyst, and chrysoprase.
The designer donates a portion of the proceeds from his flora-inspired pieces to New York's Central Park Conservancy.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Star Anise Ring with Diamond
Photo 2 (bottom left): Honeysuckle Vine Ring in Yellow, White and Blackened Gold