Thursday, March 11, 2010


The serene beauty of Ramat Hanadiv in Israel is a welcome change from the daily hustle and bustle.

The Visitors Pavilion leads us into a world of botanical wonder that spreads out over 1,000 acres. Israel is also the home of featured jewelry designer Yael Krakowski.

Bead jewelry is probably the world's earliest form of jewelry with prehistoric man creating beads using the bones of animals.

As centuries passed beads of carnelian and lapis lazuli gemstones were worn by the wealthy.

Today, however, bead jewelry fashioned from varied materials such as rock quartz to gold to glass is a popular item for people of all economic backgrounds.

Krakowski's colorful jewelry creations, in large part, are actualized with the use of glass beads, as well as cotton thread, resin, sterling silver, 18-karat gold, and enamel.

Seeing Krakowski's work, along with much of the designers featured on this blog, caused me to think about the generalized, homogenous manner in which jewelry tends to be presented. I started this blog having a generalized knowledge collected from the sound bites and blurbs I have read or watched over the years.

I began this blog with the idea that jewelry from Germany is clean, minimalistic, and without gemstones, while Israeli designers only create Judaica items. Although to a certain degree this is true, I have learned that these presentations merely scratch the surface of what is actually out there.

Cornelia Goldsmith (Germany) designs elaborate gold jewelry with magnificent gemstones, while Michal Negrin (Israel) creates beautiful items with so much luscious color and whimsy it is like collecting pieces straight out of a fairytale.

Krakowski's artistic vision is not unlike the designers I just mentioned, and countless more; unveiling an aesthetic that shatters long held ideas and preconceived notions concerning design parameters from a particular region of the world.

A graduate of Israel's Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, with a Bachelor of Arts in gold and silversmithing, Krakowski arranges tiny glass granules in what looks like a vibrant, yet unusual, fruit tapestry of raspberries and mulberries.  Krakowski's other creations resemble elaborate baby rattles.

Items fashioned from sterling silver, resemble sea urchins and spiny balls.  Still other items like her Snake Bracelet, cultivated from sterling silver, enamel, and resin, is sinewy resembling its namesake with its glistening, multi-colored armor-like scales.

She even creates a bracelet using fiberglass washers! Each item is intricate, detailed work that is distinctive, and unique.

With two decades in the jewelry-making field under her belt, Krakowski's original designs have garnered the Eitan Ron Prize for Jewelry Design, an American Israel Foundation Scholarship, and the BC Creative Achievement Award.

Her work has been exhibited around the globe including Israel, Japan, Canada, and the United States.
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver and Magenta Resin Bracelet
Photo 2 (bottom left): Oval Necklace with Glass Beads and Cotton Thread
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