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Vim Beget Jewelry

The one-man machine behind beautifully antiqued hand-woven accessories

by Graham Hiemstra in Style on 08 February 2012

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Seattle-based Vim Beget makes jewelry and accessories with a vaguely antique aesthetic, blurring the barrier between past and present. Each piece of burnished silver is finished with rusted steel, affording it its own unique look and feel—the upshot of hours spent in the hands of sole designer Billy Bartels.

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Deeply rooted in the process, Bartels believes a hands-on approach makes the the end result worthwhile, and cuts each link separately before hand weaving them into a chain for bracelets and necklaces. "It's a lengthy process but something that can't be matched by a machine," he admits.

Materials are central to the process, and the designer takes a thoughtful approach to selecting the right combination. "The metals we use are very specific to the function as well as the aesthetic," says Bartels. "We use German silver not only because it's stronger and holds the weave better, but because the weave we do is a dated art and German silver is closest to the type of metal used traditionally when it was made hundreds and even thousands of years ago."

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Similarly, the rings are first hand-carved from wax then cast in sterling silver. From there the finishing process involves sanding, forming, blackening and polishing to give the metal a distinct texture. Bartels has produced spectacular custom pieces as well, like the pair of nesting rings he recently cast in Shibuichi, an ancient Japanese alloy of fine silver and copper originally used for decorative elements on Katana swords.

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In addition to their sterling silver rings and handwoven bracelets, Vim Beget also makes a number of fine leather goods crafted with the same attention to detail. With prices ranging between $95 and $295, Vim Beget is sold online as well as at a number of boutiques in the U.S. For a deeper look at the process behind the brand and the jewelry check out the Vim Beget blog.

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