November 02, 2015
Three pairs of bronze ear weights with select cuts of "Red Creek Jasper" reminiscent of the surface of Jupiter's moon "Europa"
I've been working on this weight design concept for well over a year now, and I'm thrilled to finally make them available in their full size glory (I previously released several half-sized test pieces). Europa represents the first limited quantity run in a continuing release schedule of unique stones set in these beautiful bronze ear weights. The bronze style itself does not have a name - internally we call it the "display weight" - specifically because it is meant to be a frame, or a display, for carefully chosen natural materials.
Over the course of many years of cutting and carving natural materials of all kinds, I have come to know pattern and line not as the two dimensional planes that we see most frequently in jewelry (plugs, cabochons), but rather patterns and lines that extend through three dimensional space as they curve and weave through a material. This jewelry was a study and experiment in showcasing the beauty of nature in a minimalist manner... essentially this was a lesson in getting out of the way and letting a material take the lead.
I must say before I go any further that this was very much a collaborative effort, and it would be rude of me to dismiss the importance of that. Local artist Andre Shank was instrumental in helping to refine my original rough concept sketches much closer to a finished design. Another local artist, Roberto Rubet, was an enormous aid in meticulously measuring and recreating my hand carved wax into a digital 3D file, so that we could troubleshoot casting issues involved in building an enormous upside down stone setting without me having to carve countless waxes.
As a side note, if you are the kind of person that enjoys seeing progress photos of pieces being made, you'd like my Instagram account, which recently featured several photos and videos of the production of these pieces.
These three pairs of weights are carved from one block of "Red Creek Jasper," which is not actually a jasper but rather a silificated limestone dolomite. Each pair is unique and one of a kind, despite having been cut from right next to one another. Each has a personality, so to speak. The patterns across each piece within a pair are mirrored to the best of my ability so that when worn, matching interesting features will show on both pieces regardless of whether they are inserted from the front or back. My goal in this design truly is to create wearable specimens that hang, sway, and can be viewed from multiple angles. These pieces have details that you can get lost in, and I have consistently found myself rotating each piece and following the erratic lines and color zoning as they wind around the shape.
It's all the stone was large enough for. I purchased the stone specifically for this project in May 2014, and as I worked with the material, it became clear that it would be much more interesting to limit the quantity and truly make unique pieces using this new style. I do loads of custom work and one-offs - it's kind of my thing. It seems only natural that the next step would be releasing limited quantity pieces to the public.
Europa is 62mm tall, 26mm wide, and each piece weighs 55 grams. They are wearable at 8mm (0g) and up. The stone inserts are approximately 22mm x 22mm. This is a true hardware setting, no adhesive is used. The materials are lead free silicon bronze and "Red Creek Jasper." They are 100% made in the USA from the initial design and waxes, to the casting, polishing, and the stone carving and setting.
All three pairs will go live on the website on the same date and time at the same price. This blog post is to enable you to get familiar with the story behind the pieces and their technical details so that you'll already have an idea of which pair you would like to purchase when the time comes.
Europa goes live Friday, February 13th at 6pm Eastern time. No additional pairs will be created following the "Europa" theme.
If you have questions about these pieces, feel free to contact us. Please don't ask us to hold a pair for you though; this is a strict first-come, first-served sale.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I've enjoyed making them. Please do leave me some feedback and let me know what you think, and keep an eye out for future limited runs of "display weights" using other gorgeous specimen materials.
Jared A. Karnes