The “LOOT: MAD About Jewelry” contemporary jewelry exhibition and sale wrapped at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City on April 13. Featuring lots of beautiful works, avant-garde designs, and a few head-scratchers, the show is in its 19th edition. The pieces on display, representing 55 designers from 18 countries, offered takeaways for any retailer.
Some designers tied contemporary designs back to their countries of origin, updating centuries, if not millennia, of artisanal tradition. While beautiful on their own, the works took on heightened meaning when their stories were shared. Thailand’s Apinya Oo Boonprakob turned woodblock stamps into bead-encrusted jewelry; Italy’s Anna Porcu re-crafted authentic vintage cameos with modern leather cuffs; and Chile’s Rita Soto created lightweight baubles with her country’s horsehair micro-basketry techniques.
Sure there’s a place for precious metals on the jeweler’s shelf, but don’t be afraid to make room for less conventional materials. Japan-born Mariko Kusumoto took fabric art to the fun house with her encapsulated 3-D creations. Berlin-based Alena Willroth’s intricate polyethylene forms were an homage to nature—and a testament to her patience, as she hand-cuts each one.
The final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones has begun, so get ready for lots of feuding, murder, and heavy metal. Jewelry like Alison Evans’ chain mail necklace or Kira Fritsch’s oxidized ring might just help your customers fill the void once the show departs for good.
Why not explore jewelry that lights up in the dark? China-born Wanshu Li’s sea anemone–inspired jewelry features fluorescent plastic that glows when you shine UV light on it. The conversational bright idea is sure to put your store in the spotlight.
Let jewelry breathe new life into upcycled materials. Take the gilded jewelry constructed from picture-frame remnants by Turkey’s Leyla Taranto or U.S.-based Tara Locklear’s repurposed skateboards. Reuse, recycle, respect!
Top: Tara Locklear earrings made of repurposed skateboards