Wednesday, June 29, 2011

JENÉ DESPAIN

14-Karat Gold-Filled Bryant Park
Pendant Necklace with Green Onyx Briolette
Located on the southern end of Brooklyn, New York smack dab along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean is Coney Island. 

The name Coney is believed to be a derivative of the Dutch word “Conyne” which means rabbit. 

The settlement was originally inhabited by a large variety of rabbits but industrialization claimed their habitats.  New York is also home to featured jewelry designer Jené DeSpain.

Composed of 14-karat gold-fill, gunmetal, leather and brass DeSpain’s designer fashion jewelry possesses an aesthetic best described as demurely edgy. 

Though overall DeSpain’s collections do not pack the one-two punch of Dana Lorenz’ statement jewelry brand Fenton-Fallon her studded, black leather bracelets and gunmetal knuckle rings offer just the right amount of assertive energy I feel epitomizes the alternately take-charge and delicate dichotomy of a woman.

A native of Portland, Oregon DeSpain spent her childhood immersed in numerous creative outlets including drawing, gardening, cooking, sewing, and knitting.  She credits her parents, also artists, for goading her interests in the arts.
14-Karat Gold-Filled Metropolitan
Diamonds Bold Earrings
“I am the daughter of a craftsman and an artist so my understanding of design was strongly encouraged,” she recalls.  “Working next to my father in his woodshop honed my love for tools, while drawing sketches with my mother developed my visual aesthetic.”

Not intimidated by teeming communities and fast-paced living, DeSpain moved to New York in 1997 despite cautionary tales given by her elders.  “I knew that New York City was where I needed to be.  I have the city’s rhythm pulsing through my veins.  Even as a child the drive of NYC was in my blood.”

In homage to her adopted home DeSpain created her Roaring 10s Collection that features designs of brass and lush semi-precious gemstones inspired by famed New York architecture such as the Bryant Park and Gramercy Park hotels.

Geometry’s clean lineation also plays a role in DeSpain’s Black Honey and Salt and Stars collections.  Classic gold hoop earrings, gunmetal stackable rings, open heart necklaces, and Art Deco-inspired jewelry can be mixed and layered creating that great visual of demure edginess.
14-Karat Gold Plated Spiked Toggle
Braided Leather Bracelet with Knuckle Rings

“I am completely self-taught. I personally craft each piece of jewelry by hand with a dedication to quality materials made in the United States. 

Community is very important to me.  I worked for several years as a fashion photographer and have formed relationships with many artists who work in the fashion industry.  They bring me support, friendship and inspiration.”
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