Monday, December 17, 2012


14K Gold Diamond Shaped Dangle Earrings with Diamonds
Known as one of the coldest cities in North Korea, the city of Hyesan also has the distinction of being located at the foot of the ominous Baekdu mountain range that contains the Hyongje Falls.  Korea is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Michelle Chang.

 As beautiful as classic jewelry is sometimes a pair of diamond or 18-karat gold earrings can be a bit too crisp and aloof in its refined beauty.

I also feel that when a jeweler chooses a design base as classic as popular, oft done iconography like star or heart pendants bringing their individual flair is an absolute must.

A former freelance illustrator, whose work has been featured in such prominent magazines as GQ, Rolling Stone and Time, Chang brings a distinctive look to her capricious designs of sterling silver, brass, 14-karat white or yellow gold, and 18-karat gold vermeil.

Her animal-inspired pendant necklaces in particular have this slightly askew plump look that resembles tiny clay figurines doused in precious metals and accents of tiny white diamonds. 

The soft, pliable look of kittens, hedgehogs, elephants, snakes, fox heads, and baby manta rays is sweet and fun; they seem like less grotesque characters from a Tim Burton animated film. 

The fluidity of the soft, organic curvatures and the gentle matte finishes add warmth to her alternately handmade and cast jewelry designs that contrasts the somewhat impersonal beauty of classically styled jewelry.
Sterling Silver Cutout Cuff Bracelet
With over 300 items listed at her Etsy store jewelry making is clearly a natural extension of Chang’s aptitudes.  “I studied fine art, architecture and design at Cornell University graduating with a B.S. in Design and Environmental Analysis.  Initially I went into interior design and traveled the globe. 

I moved to San Francisco for a while and after receiving a B.F.A. in illustration from the San Francisco Academy of Art, I moved back to New York and worked as a freelance illustrator,” recalls the New York-based designer and kayaking enthusiast.

“Eight years ago I started learning to make jewelry and absolutely love it!  I discovered that I could use all of the skills I had developed.  By 2007, I decided to change careers again and opened my Etsy store.

My favorite pieces from the line are a draw between the Open Mouth Snake Ring and Skull Band Ring.  I love working with silver and gold.  I may make a wax mold for casting or work directly with the metal depending on the design.  Sometimes I do a combination of both.

Brass Flower Petal Necklace with Gold-Filled Chain
Everywhere I look I see things that inspire me—ornate fences, signage, sidewalk grills.

I always see patterns and designs in the mundane.  I don’t think I will ever have enough time to make all the things I envision in my head.”
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