Wednesday, November 21, 2012


18K Gold & Diamond Triple Pendant Necklace with Serpentine Chains
The Great Court, the Rosetta Stone and the controversial Elgin Marbles sculptures each have a home in the 259-year-old British Museum located in London, England.

The admission-free museum contains over 13 million historical objects from around the world.  England is also home to featured jewelry designer Inga Reed.

I cannot help but keep reiterating that I think classic jewelry design is a niche where a designer must always be on his or her toes.  

I say this because there is such a fine line between classic design and ordinary.  Any designer worth their salt knows it is essential to always take a classic design and make it their own. 

Ireland-based Reed is a perfect example of a designer expanding on the concept of classic style.  Small choices like using single strand or multi-strands of tiny gemstone beads to suspend 18-karat gold or sterling silver pendants adds just the right touch of shaking things up.

When her father, a psychology professor, accepted a teaching position in Ireland, the then 8-year-old Reed would spend hours collecting cowrie shells brimming with ideas to transform them into jewelry. 

“I used to go with my dad to Barleycove in West Cork and I remember scouring the shops there for leather boot laces to suspend the dozens of cowries I had found,” recalls the 2008 winner of Crafts Council of Ireland Craftsmanship Award.

18K Gold and Sterling Silver Snowberry Earrings with Seed Pearls
“My workshop is filled with shells and 'interesting' stones, seed heads, leaves and seed pods gathered from my garden picked up from beaches around Ireland.  These are the sources of inspiration for my work.”

Reed’s design approach, in part, reflects her fascination with natural surroundings.  For example, two pearl necklaces (one fashioned from white pearls, the other from black) at first glance—in thumbnail view—these items look like traditional pearl strand necklaces.  However, after enlarging the photo the pearls are actually small, pearl beads fashioned into bead balls.

Each pearl bead ball is linked together with perforated sterling silver beads inserted at every third pearl bead ball.  The clustered pearls resemble alternately ripe and unripe mulberries. 

Reed’s overall design approach could be described as classic meets contemporary art.  The classic side of it shaves off just enough of the bizarre excess of contemporary art jewelry; but a good amount of edge remains giving gold rings, gemstone necklaces and drop earrings visual impact.

She plays up metal surfaces with embossed patterns, spiky studs featured on her mechanistic Rattle Rings, oxidation, and unique cage-like pendants in 18-karat gold and sterling silver.

“I am not only drawn to nature for its intrinsic beauty in color and form but for the intricate organic engineering that underpins their structure and for the intricate patterns and textures they create en masse.  

I use roller embossing and combine roller printed textures with clean shapes.  The interplay between shape, texture and relief patterns play a central part in my collections.”
18K Gold Rattle Rings

A small selection of items from Reed’s collections is available to purchase online at
Post a Comment
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...