Designed by Italian architect Agostino Barelli, the nearly four-centuries-old Nymphenburg Palace in Munich Germany is a marvel of neoclassic, ornamental style. Germany is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Karola Torkos.
At first glance Torkos’ streamlined designer jewelry is not what it appears to be.
Beneath the sleek, modern curvatures of her Swirls and Lines Collection for instance, belies the heart of contemporary jewelry. The long, clean lengths of the metal from this particular collection hide secret accents of color.
“My current and ongoing project of changeable/variable jewelry offers a huge playground. The possibility to change the look of a jewelry piece is, in some way, handing over the last step in the design process to the wearer.”
Torkos’ journey to becoming a jewelry designer is a long one taking her from Halle, Germany to Kautokein, Norway to London, England over a twelve-year period.
In this timeframe, she studied textile design, jewelry art, and goldsmithing. She also worked as a gallery assistant, and collaborated with British designer Theo Fennell with whom she still keeps in touch.
Each experience lends itself to Torkos’ inventive design approach. Enlisting plastic, stainless steel, 14-karat gold, aluminum, Velcro, and sterling and gold-plated silver, she explores such themes as kindergarten crafting while continually playing with contrasts of lengths, shapes and colors.
With fearless abandon, Torkos builds the playful and colorful Fool’s Gold Collection, a vivid interpretation of childhood crafting classes, as well as the incredibly malleable Garland Collection. These particular metal pieces appear to be hinged allowing for a bracelet to be literally unraveled, reconstructed into a necklace, and then back again.
The London-based designer largely credits her stint at London’s Royal College of Art with boldly implementing innovative elements of surprise. “As a jewelry designer I am interested in discovering the different and sometimes contrasting aspects of a concept, idea or collection.
The things I am doing are very wearable but they are not super-commercial; therefore I avoid seeing myself as just a commercial or just an artistic designer working in only one formal language.
The Royal College of Art showed me there are so many different ways of working. It allowed me to find my own way. All of a sudden I felt free to work the way I wanted.”
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling and Gold-Plated Silver Dot Dot Dot Oval EarringsPhoto 2 (center): Plastic Fool’s Gold Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): 14-Karat Gold Garland Bracelet