Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Tuareg Ingall Pendant Necklace
with Red Glass and Ethiopian Talisman Box
One of the most famous movie studios in Hollywood is Universal Studios, and its theme park is an exciting conduit into the world of film-making.  

The theme park offers rides based on popular films, and tours of the studio include the sets of such films as Psycho.  California is also home to featured jewelry designer Aklia Chinn.

Jewelry is as much a visceral experience as it is a visual one.  I had such a response to Chinn’s majestic fashion jewelry.

To me responding to jewelry viscerally is more powerful than the appeal of surface details.  I was immediately drawn to what the items represent: the lifestyle and humanity of various cultures. 

These statement jewelry pieces consist of silver rings, trade bead bracelets and stunning gemstone and bead necklaces.

Many jewelry creations are made from components personally selected by the jewelry maker during her sojourns to exotic locales.  Ethiopian bicone silver beads and talisman boxes, Indian pendants, and Thai Hill Tribe silver beads, are a sampling of the unique elements.

Overall Chinn’s designs are unquestionably regal and powerful in their bold, masculine geometric cuts of metal, glass or gemstones.  The essence of strength can be perceived in the colors, shapes and textures.  The jewelry designs are the equivalent of a beautiful musical composition that is both lyrical and captivating.

A veteran of jewelry making for a little over two decades, Chinn started out making baubles as a hobby.  Access to the “vast small treasures” of one of her mother’s friends as a youth singlehandedly began Chinn’s fascination with stunning jewels.

African Trade and Thai Hill Tribe Silver Beads Bracelet
“I had a penchant for crafts.  I learned to macramé, crochet, solder metals and laminate.  I learned beading in 1989 and began making jewelry for myself because I could not find something unique and affordable.  Years later I got into acting but made jewelry on the side for extra income.

I was an extra on the set of the t.v. series A Different World and the costume designer saw one of my pieces and commissioned several designs for some of the actors to wear.  

Word began to spread and Milena Canonero--an Oscar-winning costume designer for A Clockwork Orange--used some pieces for Halle Berry to wear in Bulworth. 

Several of my pieces were also used in the film Titanic, and Gloria Stuart wore one of them.  I am grateful that a number of recognizable celebrities have worn my jewelry on-screen and off because publicity from that is priceless.”

Chinn eventually established Aklia's a bricks-and-mortar store in Hollywood which has been open since 1995.  The store includes home accessories curated from “independent artists” from around the world.  

The inventory is comprised Indonesian batik coaster sets, Kente cloth, and Balinese beaded baskets.   Though the economic downturn has adversely affected her business the style maven attributes her success to expanding her horizons, taking risks, learning “a vast repertoire of [jewelry making] techniques”; and not following trends.

“I am determined to continue to do what I love.  I am also passionate about sharing my love for rich and colorful aesthetics, textures and patterns by bringing people unique community built goods.”

Berber Silver Ring with Enamel
2013 Jewelry Trend Alert:  Although Chinn does not closely follow trends her regal jewelry items do have some of the year’s style trends.  

Beads, geometric patterns and sizable proportions make Chinn’s designs easily on trend.
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