Local artisans. They are one thing Chicago is never lacking, and I’m all in favor of supporting them. Not only will you find unique and one-of-a-kind pieces, but you can also be confident your money is going to well deserving businesses. I love checking out all local craftsmen but I’ve got a major soft spot for our homegrown jewelry designers. Being that the holidays are rolling around, what better gift is there than jewelry? I’ve rounded up a few of my personal favorite Chicago designers and hopefully some of these wind up in my stocking this year.
Cities in Dust
Founded in 2010, this line from Columbia College alum Meghan Lorenz is filled with off-beat, cool girl staples. The pieces are modern and sparse, perfect along side trendy ensembles giving the perfect “just threw this on” look. The go-with-everything jewels are at once laid back and polished. The best part is that they won’t break the bank, with almost all pieces under $200. The simple cuffs and rings are steals and look best stacked, which is great since you won’t be able to buy just one.
4 Dagger Cuff Assortment, $210
Reverse Ball Choker, $95
If you like feminine and unique jewelry, Mineralogy is right up your alley. Designer Theresa Cowan mixes recycled metals and precious gemstones to create beautifully delicate pieces that enhance any look. My favorite part of her designs is that they are made in small batches and even those of the same style are different due to the natural colors or shapes of the materials used. They truly are one-of-a-kind and evoke that heirloom feeling. These are pieces you’ll keep forever and want to pass on.
Diamond Latus Ring, $580
It’s easy to see that the designer of this namesake line began as a sculptor. Her aesthetic is geometric and modern. A recurring them in her collections is the shape of quartz crystals. How does she get that perfect crystalline shape? She actually creates molds of various stones, casting them in metals. It’s that mix of metalsmithing knowledge and appreciation for silhouettes found in nature that make a Therese Kuempel design something to be admired.
Another minimalistic favorite, designer Sarah Fox’s line, Cursive is all about simple yet statement-making jewelry. The core pieces are based on geometry and polished metals. Few pieces are busy or intricate, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t bold. These designs are eye-catching in their simplicity but still manage to give off a fun, off-kilter vibe. The sparing use of stones, beads or tassels make their presence all the more welcome, injecting an unexpected detail into very uncomplicated pieces.
While not originally from Chicago, designer Allison Jenetopulos, a grad of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, splits her time between our lovely city and Miami, FL. This might be why so much of her collection features a distinct sun motif. And who doesn’t need a little sunshine in the dead of a Chicago winter? The whimsical pieces definitely have a celestial influence with the starry stone druzy being a mainstay in the designs. These interesting pieces are sure to start a conversation.
Black Diamond Sun Ring, $995