by Laura Neilson
When it comes to describing jewelry designer Katherine Sturgis' handmade bracelets and necklaces, oxymorons abound. Stunningly elegant, her pieces are thoroughly rough-and-tumble at the same time. Thick oxidized silver chains entwine with silk thread, thin leather bands and the occasional strand of vintage rhinestones. Sophisticated hardware, glammed-up friendship bracelets, luxe lanyards...the list of dichotomies go on.
Just as her jewelry is a study in self-evident contradictions so is Sturgis herself. One one wrist, you'll find fantastic layers of delicate rhinestones and baubles, while the other is canvas to a sprawl of inky tattoos. Her closest friends refer to her as "blanche neige" for the way her ebony-black locks juxtapose against her pale, alabaster skin, recalling a modern-day Snow White. And she's bi-coastal too, balancing her time between Brooklyn and sunny Los Angeles.
Before striking out on her own, the 28-year-old designer cut her teeth working in various avenues of corporate fashion. At first, making the occasional piece of jewelry was simply a pastime but as demand grew for her trademark friendship bracelets, Sturgis decided to weave her self-taught hobby into a full-fledged pursuit.
Each piece is handcrafted by Sturgis herself, yet despite the precious artisanship that goes into each item, she maintains that her jewelry is meant to be worn and worn often. "I wanted the mix of all the different materials to make these pieces very adaptable to just about any occasion," she says. The final paradox is that it's everyday jewelry that couldn't be further from mundane.
Visit her site to see the collection and order by emailing her (studio [at] katherinesturgis [dot] com).