Feature Friday - Q&A with Richard Elkin of Elkin Studio Jewelers

My sensibilities run the gamut.  Personally, I love every bit of jewelery that "speaks to me" from well-designed, intricate Victorian and Art Deco-era pieces to more modern works of jewelry artwork.  And, I enjoy mixed metals immensily!  The visual depth and change in textures between different types of metal and brightly colored gemstones is fascinating to me!

Imagine how enthralled I was when I was introduced to Elkin Studio Jewelers of New Mexico.  Talk about a paradise!  My personal favorite is their Rustica Collection.  It reminds me days spent in museums growing up (I always loved the ancient Egyptian collections, personally!) and some of my recent travel to amazing archeological sites in Italy.

So...I hope you enjoy these amazing works of art by Elkin Studio Jewelers and my Feature Friday Q&A with Richard Elkin, half of the designing duo behind them!

Beth & Richard Elkin - The Designing Duo behind Elkin Studio Jewelers.

1.  What prompted your passion for jewelry and jewelry design?
Early in life my parents took me to Sturbridge Village, a colonial village with potters, bookbinders, candle makers, barrel wrights and all types of craftspeople working in old fashioned studios and shops in traditional garb.  I was enthralled!  I studied studio art and art history in college and became a potter.  I worked as a potter from 1980-2005 and switched to jewelry after that.  

From the Rustica Collection:  Tourmaline quartz pendant in 14k & 22k Gold with a padparasha orange sapphire
& diamond on a hand forged 22 inch, 14k gold chain.

2.  What is your favorite piece or collection?
I like the Rustica Collection.  The work is inspired by ancient jewelry from the archeological record.  Worn metal with a gem, still bright after centuries.  That, to me, is captivating! 

Aquamarine & Diamond Cuff: oxydized sterling silver & 14k gold, from the Rustica Collection.

3.  What would your perfect “jewelry day” involve / be like?
Six hours in the studio and a high-end sale at the end of the day!

4.  Thus far, what would you say is your proudest jewelry moment or memory?
I have garnered about a dozen awards in the past 10 years for Best of Show, etc. and each time was an honor.

Sapphire Ring, Rustica Collection: 14k & 22k gold, old mine cut pink sapphire & white sapphires.

5.  Where do you find your greatest inspiration?
Ancient, rustic jewelry.  I am also a student of Japanese aesthetics so my work is also influenced a great deal by wabi-sabi sensibilities.  

6.  In your personal wardrobe, do you find that you gravitate to one particular jewelry accessory (rings vs. necklace vs. bracelets vs. watches, etc.) more often than others?
I rarely wear anything but a wedding ring.  I do have a couple brooches that I wear on my vests.  

Quartz crystal & ruby pendant from the Rustica Collection in sterling silver & yellow gold.

7.  When putting together an outfit, how do you feel about mixing metals, designs and even new with vintage pieces?
Love the mixed metal look!  Vintage I can take it or leave it, depending on the design, era and materials. 

Tourmaline crystal ring, Rustica Collection in 14k gold, oxidized sterling silver, natural tourmaline crystal & diamonds.
I have to say, I think this ring is one of my all-time favorites!  It is pure Art!

8.  Layering seems to be a trend that is here to stay, for now. What are your feelings on the layered look?  How do you like layered necklaces with layered bracelets plus layered rings? 
Yes!  Love it!

Sofia Ring, also from the Rustica Collection, in 14k gold, pink tourmaline, ruby, diamond, ceylon sapphire & akoya pearl .
One of my personal favorites from the collection!

9.  What advice would you give to budding jewelry designers? To budding fine jewelry collectors?
To designers:  Ignore pop culture completely!  Find your own voice in your work.  Contrary to popular belief, working in a vacuum is a good thing.  That is, if you have a well-established foundation of art history behind you.

For collectors, it’s the same thing.  Invest in your particular style and taste.  What pleases you is what you’ll wear the most, enjoy the most and feel good in the most!

Flash Question - Dream trip destination?

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