Thursday, December 9, 2010


Aboriginal rock paintings, beautiful waterfalls, and sprawling landscapes are just a few of the sights you will find at Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory. Australia is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Elena Adams.

Presently based in Palo Alto, California Adams’ first foray in jewelry making came about at the age of 11.

The gift of a bead jewelry making kit, which she shared with her sister, indelibly whets her appetite for bolder, more complex design patterns.

In high school, friends coaxed Adams to take up an afterschool workshop in silver jewelry; once she signed on she became ensnared within her emerging creative latencies. Here is where Adams laid the foundation for her signature maille or chain maille designs.

“I had resisted for some time but when I finally attended the class I was taught how to cut and link silver rings into a double helix. I was hooked,” she says.

“I love the look of chain and the amazing patterns that can be produced from nothing but simple rings of metal. I strive to maintain the beauty of classic chain maille while updating it to suit the more refined tastes of the modern woman.”

A foreboding design pattern with origins in Japan, Europe and Persia, Adams brings graceful and lithe outlines to its militarist overtones by creating delicate chain designs that include body jewelry for the feet, hands, and legs as well as the edgy yet ultra-feminine slave earrings.

Named for its chain and cuff design Adams’ reworking of a look commonly associated with East Indian bridal jewelry and punk garb is at once regal, exotic, and sophisticated.

She pairs slender sterling silver chains with an assortment of glowing gemstone beads of ruby, azurite, pink sapphire, smoky quartz, moonstone, and peridot making for stylish, ethereal renderings.

“Slave Earrings add a little mystery, a dash of wild-child and a whole lot of sexy,” says Adams. The 10-year veteran implements subtle chain link accents in her designer jewelry wherever she can.

She does a nice take on classic silver hoop earrings by incorporating a simple web of silver chains that crisscross within the hoop, and are accented with several tiny, dangling ruby gemstone beads.

“I have been making jewelry for 10 years and during that time I have taken classes from some of the best metal and chain teachers in the Bay Area. I get just as thrilled about designing as the day I started.”

To see Adams in her element, be sure to view her free tutorial videos on making chain maille designs.
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Chain Maille Slave Earrings with Smoky Quartz
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver European Cuff Bracelet with Raw Garnet
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling silver Bracelet with Lavender Beads
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