High Fashion. High Concept. Highly Creative.
Congratulations to Travis Withers, a member of Stuller’s award-winning jewelry design team who won Best in Show at this year’s Platinum Innovation Awards at JCK 2015. This year Stuller’s design team submitted several designs ranging from a mix of bridal and fashion. But there can only be one winner, and the judges loved the intricacies of the diamond pendent. Congrats, Travis, and all who participated!
Take a look below to see what Travis says about his award winning piece. And read about what inspired other Stuller designers.
When presented with the opportunity to work in platinum, a metal known as much for its complexities as its luster and durability, I was inspired to create something that would test its limitations while exploring its strengths. I’ve always had an interest in dome architecture, particularly the lamella styling. While creating the domed structure, I found myself exploring the patterns that emerged when the two domes were positioned opposite of one another, and after much experimentation, what I had finally achieved was a perfect vault formed by a delicate almost lace-like shell. The opposing pattern seen from the front of the pendant just beckoned for a little texture and glimmer, so I added a light spray of pavé-set diamond melee to really create a bit of pop.
In architecture, domes are often the celebratory moment of a structure, and I felt that the piece needed a focal point to really give the design some presence. After initially working with a pearl and ultimately deciding that it was a less harmonious pairing than I’d originally thought, I decided that nothing less than the majesty of a diamond should be placed at its oculus.
Having access to the finest metals, gemstones and diamonds, one can’t help but find inspiration in two such beautifully proportioned pear-shape diamonds, one white and the other a contrasting intense fancy yellow, set in an elegant back drop of platinum. While the pear shape diamonds alone are stunning, I wanted to bring a sense of unity and fluidity to the composition without over-designing, so I added a beautiful curvilinear fringe composed from small diagonally positioned marquise-cut diamonds. I think I achieved the fluidity and unity I was seeking and was pleased with the subtle textural or fringe like quality that emerged.
“I always thought that inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us show up and get to work.” -Chuck Close. Part of a person’s education will always be play, experimentation, and chance. I also believe that an element of this exists in our work. As a designer, I consider myself to be a creative problem solver, even though I’m usually the one creating the problems. I personally enjoy playing with contradictions, in this case ordered, geometric shapes and chaotic, asymmetrical design problems. This project was born out of an attempt to balance these factors, manifesting as conversations between matter and space, color and shape.
As a very competitive person, designing for a contest often draws out my most enthusiastic and focus-inducing creative process. The first and most difficult task is to impress myself; I am my hardest critic and my most difficult adversary. There is no better victory than to first outdo the “me of yesterday.” My sole inspiration and goal for this ring was purely to design a piece of jewelry that, when the pencil dropped, would trigger me to push my chair away from my desk and say, “That’s awesome!”
It is an artist’s gift to breathe life into the inanimate. One must carefully choose the perfect materials for one’s creations, with all parts carefully planned in the creator’s mind. I’m very drawn to very minimalist designs, preferring clean, well placed lines and simple surfaces that allow all of my chosen materials to come together in a natural and harmonious composition. The platinum was a given for this design, but when I saw the fiery pear- shaped precious topaz for the first time, I knew that it was the perfectly aligned with my vision. The final element needed to complete my design was a beautiful hand-selected pear-cut diamond. I wanted the two gems to appear as if they were being drawn toward each other, so I used strategic spacing and setting techniques to achieve a feeling of tension and movement in the overall piece.
If you’re at JCK you can check these pieces out in person. Click here to see a complete list of entries. And don’t forget to let us know what you think. Who knows – maybe one day a version of these will be available for purchase!