Monday, November 23, 2015

S. Kind & Co.

Sophie and Jacob, Founders of S. Kind & Co.

Give us a little background on how the company got started.
S:  Jacob and I have known since we were kids that we would go into business together. We bonded over our shared values and came of age in New York drinking lots of iced coffee together.

The original S. Kind was founded by Jacob’s great-great-great grandfather in 1872. He fled Austrian Imperialism and brought his sophisticated European taste to Philadelphia. Last year Jacob discovered a four volume archive about the house of S. Kind at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and sent me hundreds of photos. We started working on our new collection right away.

What do you enjoy most about running a small business?
S:  I love working directly with our customers. It gives us the opportunity to create something really unique and special. I get to experience their delight and happiness personally. There’s nothing else like that.

J:  My favorite thing is the jewelry. Jewelry was my first love - and now as a small business owner I get to steward the parts of jewelry I never liked, the historically dark parts, into the light by working hard to source and promote ethically mined gemstones.

Describe your design process.
J:  We don’t have a set process, it’s very improvisational. Sophie and I usually begin in conversation, about a stone, a shape, a historic piece of jewelry, or an idea. Then I go into design mode - I sketch constantly on the subway, listening to the ambient city noises, and watching the skyline go by on the above ground stretches in Queens. When I’m home, I love to create by candlelight. My studio is by the ocean, so I listen to the ocean sounds while I render and model each piece myself. I only model when I’m inspired, so as you can imagine, I take a lot of breaks.

Where do you find inspiration?
S:  The heritage of our business is definitely a huge influence on us, we have many beautiful original S. Kind catalogs from throughout the 20th century that we are always turning to. I think we’re also both very inspired by New York. We’re frequently talking about particular colors or shapes we see here.

J:  We’re also hugely inspired by our customers - both real, and imagined. We often discuss how a particular design might look discovered by a generation later, just as I discovered my grandmother and great grandmother’s Art Deco S. Kind jewelry as a child.

Explain the process of working on a bespoke design with a client.
S:  We like to get a sense of the couple's values, besides lifestyle, gemstones, and budget, it’s essential for me to understand what’s important to them. I help them identify how their ring can reflect their love and life together. Often times it’s a proportion, or a geometry more than anything else that really delights them. Then I bring Jacob in, I tell him about the client and what they got excited about.

J:  I mean Sophie really does so much more than that. When recounting a couple’s bespoke request she shares it with me as a total dream in way that always excites and inspires me. I take great ownership of my craft and believe that the best results come from me having a slight distance from the client. It allows me to create something of my own invention while also sharing in their dream and exceeding their expectations.  I love searching for the perfect matched vintage side diamonds, or Montana Sapphires. Then I use the exact measurements of the gemstone and build the ring around it.

What is next for S. Kind & Co.?
S:  Right now we’re taking everything one day at a time. Our goal for 2016 is a physical location. We would love to have a space that really represents the company and our aesthetic.

J:  I want more jewels! As we grow, we’re developing so many new exciting resources for ethical gemstones. From Canadian rose cut and antique old euro diamonds to Oregon Sunstones and California Tourmalines - there is so much out there and I can’t wait to stock more in 2016.

Quick Facts about S. Kind & Co.

All of their jewelry is handcrafted using Recycled Metals in New York City.

Their Heirloom Diamonds are rescues from the smelter where their Recycled Metal is made.

Their colored gemstones are either antique, US origin, Canadian or Australian origin (origins are noted in product descriptions).

All clothing pictured in their product photographs are from sustainable brands or vintage. They ♥ Eileen Fisher and Reformation. 

All kittens pictured in their product photographs are rescues. Adopt don't shop.

S. Kind & CO operates out of highly efficient work/live spaces in NYC.

They wash their clothing with cold water.

They use mass transit, bicycles, and their legs to get to work and for all business related travel.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Victor Canera

Happy Monday! I thought a great way to start the week was by looking at some incredible bridal designs by Victor Canera.  I am a huge fan of their bespoke, hand-forged pieces, complete with the most stunning diamonds.  I love the fact that their selection includes classic three stone rings and solitaires, as well as unique halo styles and rings including unique cuts of diamonds, like French Cuts.  

Victor Canera offers custom design services if you don't find that right design for you.  Their selection of jewelry isn't just limited to bridal, but also includes earrings, necklaces, bracelets and diamonds.  You can easily shop their diamond inventory; shapes include: Canera Ideal Hearts, Canera Antique Cushion, Canera European Round, round, modern cushion, oval, radiant, emerald cut and asscher cut.  
Learn a little more about the quality and fabrication of each Victor Canera piece below...
Hand Fabricating is the direct crafting on metal of a piece of jewelry and doesn't involve the use of wax, molds or casting. A design is formed in the mind of the designer, ingots of platinum or gold are melted and then pressed, bent, formed or pulled into the different parts that comprise a piece of jewelry. A ring design may have dozens of individual parts of wires, tubes or plates that are then assembled to create the finished jewel. Since no casting is involved, there is no need to clean off the imperfections of casting. The finished metal will have a flawless, mirror-like finish and not be wavy caused by cleaning of the casting surface. This produces round surfaces which will be perfectly round and flat surfaces that are perfectly flat. The jewel is extremely precise due to the control a craftsman has over each individual part of a design. No areas (like the undersides baskets, cathedral openings etc.) of a jewel will have imperfections. Joints are precise, seamless, and sharp. 

The finished design will have the benefit of being lighter in weight than a cast design yet stronger. Porosity, visible pinpoints which are actually air bubbles inside the metal caused by casting basically don't exist in hand forged jewelry. The jewel will have higher metal density, be less porous and therefore be stronger, less likely to deform and be more scratch resistant. The owners of these works will also have the satisfaction of knowing that their jewel is truly a one of a kind creation since there are no "rubber molds" or digital files in a CAD\CAM machine to replicate the work. While the term "hand made" has become a cliche and a marketing tool, Victor Canera's hand forged jewels have the distinction of being completely "casting free". Every part, from the shank to the smallest prongs of a basket are done by hand, offering all the benefits that hand forging brings to the table.

This post features some of my favorite Victor Canera pieces, to see their full selection visit their website. 

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