Metamorphic rock and steel jewelry explores possibilities beyond precious
by Janine Stankus
Chris Platt 's work is "edgy" in the most literal sense, pushing the boundary between jewelry and sculpture. With a collection of jagged, industrial pieces forged from metal and stone, Platt is trying to introduce new energy into the jewelry market.
Platt's conceptual accessories call to mind the chaos of collapsed structures or thorny brambles, a quality that emphasizes the organic, structural symbiosis of the line. The necklaces, earrings, rings and cufflinks are fashioned from bits of stainless steel filler rod, often ensconcing fragments of amphibolite gneiss metamorphic rock Platt found on a hiking excursion in the Hudson Highlands. By relying on gritty materials like steel and stone, the designer aims to deconstruct cultural notions of jewelry. "It's not silver, it's not gold, it's not diamond, it's not 'precious,'" he explains. "It's made precious through the design and craftsmanship involved in shaping the materials."
An industrial designer by trade, Platt's foray into jewelry was fueled by a penchant for metalwork. His father, a carpenter turned robot mechanic, kept a stocked machine shop where Platt cut his teeth as a kid. Each of his pieces is based on a particular model and is built by soldering lengths of rod together at arbitrary angles. The process is an exercise in "fractional infinity," or possibilities within limits. "I want to push the edges of each model while it's still maintaining the identity of that model," says Platt. "That process inherently leads to these varying objects."
In terms of innovation, Platt believes jewelry lags behind the rest of fashion. "It's been the same forms repeating themselves for hundreds of years," he explains. Platt plans to experiment further with his next project, while remaining cognizant of the limits that separate wearable jewelry from purely conceptual art. "You have to push the boundary that exists. I would like to push a certain end but I realize I can't jump to that end."