Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Three islands in Indonesia, Komodo, Padar, and Rincah--along with nearly thirty smaller ones--compose the Komodo National Park. Founded thirty years ago, the arid location serves as a conservatory for the Komodo dragons, as well as manta rays, ocean sunfish, and coral. Indonesia is also home to featured jewelry designer Putu Gede Darmawan.

Balinese designer Darmawan draws influence from the natural and spiritual worlds cultivating sleek, contemporary pieces of sterling silver with subtle hints of traditional aesthetics blended in.

Hindu and Balinese versions of the omkara (ohm), multiple variations of skulls, strawberries, geometry, and the origins of life inform his streamlined yet artistically complex jewelry.

"I come from a young generation of artists, and I have had a passion for designing since I was a child," says the silversmith.

"I love creating something based on traditional styles and combining them with a modern look. That is how I came to decide on designing sterling silver jewelry for men, as well as for women."

A good portion of the items featured on Darmawan's Novica page is for men. Though subtly is common to men's bijouterie, Darmawan brings the distinctive Balinese visual language to this collections.

The artistry of his implementation of surface textures that resemble glass shards, snakeskin, labyrinths, and rope ends is a testament to his mastery of silversmithing.

The attention to details like the flickering, silver flames of his dog tag-like Tongues of Fire Pendant, the closely set, open and filled circle shapes of his Illusion Ring that create a bubble-like effect, as well as the carved detail of his skull-faced rings, here again reflect his unquestionable skill. The skull rings alone are a marvel; that he can put so much minute detail on such a small surface area is awe-inspiring.

Darmawan values his well-honed dexterity for not only the joy and income it provides but also the livelihood such skills can provide for others.

"Many people in my neighborhood were unable to finish their studies due to financial difficulties, and some have had to resort to begging on the street," Darmawan says.

"I know the importance of having a skill so that you can have more opportunities in life, so I've made a point of offering free training in silversmith techniques.

My hope is that people in need will eventually be able to earn a living and support their families."
Photo 1 (top right): Men's Sterling Silver Illusion Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Men's Sterling Silver Monarch Skull Ring

Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Beginning of Life Pendant
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