Monday, May 13, 2013


Sinpo, a port city located along the Sea of Japan’s coast in North Korea, is a largely rural area.  Living
Gold Plated Armor II Body Harness
from Glam Collection
amidst the terrain of sand and pines includes deer and rabbits.  Korea is also the ancestral home of featured jewelry designer Karen Ko.

Statement jewelry, like classic design, can have many shades or levels.  It can be tribal, majestic or tough and edgy; and for me that makes this style a lot of fun. 

Statement jewelry is unquestionably a test of balance.  Understanding that individual style elements must complement is essential to the appeal of a piece.  Based in New York F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology) alumna Ko understands this delicate marriage of symmetry.

Ko’s affordable fashion jewelry brand, K2O, is a strong visual of graceful lines courtesy of the swooping gunmetal and gold plated chains of body harnesses; the gritty silhouettes of gold plated spiked cuff bracelets; and a flurry of colorful Swarovski Crystals.

Having been exposed to the more refined baubles of her “family’s fine jewelry business” as a child Ko’s passion for jewelry inevitably began.  Though preferring a very different aesthetic, the love she has for jewelry making is evident. 

Her three collections Glam, Rock and Pop present the edgy, tough-girl flair in a more streamlined way than what I have seen from other independent jewelers sharing this explosive style.

Her Sweet and Vicious Necklace, for example, is a play on the classic look of glossy white pearls intermingled with slender, thorny spikes.

Gold Plated Spike Ankle Cuff Bracelets from Rock Collection
There are sleek cuff bracelets with subtle fish-like scales; flirty fringe earrings with Art Deco details; and her Pop Collection feature ball designs of colorful Swarovski Crystals.  The bright and bubbly colors of pink, green, blue, yellow and purple remind me of flower fireworks exploding in the night sky!

Ironically Ko originally sought a career in finance but the experience did not tap into all of her aptitudes.  “I worked in finance for three years before realizing that my career choice lacked creativity that I quietly craved.  I made the leap into fashion using what I learned from finance,” she recalls.

“It was not a simple transition.  I had to start from scratch which meant going back to school to get a degree in jewelry design.  I attended F.I.T.  and learned about the fashion industry and from there started to build a new network.”

Ko relishes her new career of blending the latest trends with her penchant for architectural and structured designs.  “I am a huge fan of juxtaposing different styles to create my own.  K2O is the perfect balance of glamour meets edgy rock.  I do something I truly love.”

A selection of items from Ko's collections is available for purchase at

Gold Plated Spike Earrings with Pink Swarovski Crystals
from Pop Collection
2013 Jewelry Trend Alert:   Ko is on trend with bright color pops courtesy of Swarovski Crystals, geometric patterns and plenty of layered chains.
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