BIO

I have always been obsessed with rare, beautiful objects that tell a story. Things that people value and that withstand time, that are passed on to be cherished and adored. It’s at the heart of what I love about jewellery: composing a final, unique piece of art for someone to love forever.

For a long time I couldn’t find a vocation that suited me perfectly. Out of school I styled fashion editorials in my hometown then moved to Montreal and learned basic carpentry. Later, I went to New York to work for an art dealer and a gallery in Brooklyn and then to England to work for another gallery which dealt in antique picture frames. Every step of the way my appreciation for what makes objects endure deepened. I thought I could one day collect rare objects to resell — things like posy rings, for instance, inside of which people inscribed secret messages to their beloved, particularly in the 15th to 17th centuries — but I wasn’t sure where I would find the capital.

 

So, last year, with my daughter entering kindergarten, I sold my house and invested the money into equipment and materials. 2020 is a very exciting year for me. I’ve acquired some very rare portrait diamonds — a cut so clear the diamond appears like a sheet of glass, and so rare I was on a wait list for nearly a year to buy them — with which I’ll be making a modern take on Georgian-era lover’s eye jewellery. In the 19th century, people declaring their love to one another, or carrying secret relationships, would gift each other jewellery set with miniature paintings of their loved one’s eye beneath the stone — precious to them, but unidentifiable to anyone else — to wear on rings, necklaces and brooches, a way to keep the person they held dear intimately close. The Prince of Wales started the tradition, because he loved a Catholic he was forbidden from marrying. Only about a thousand original lover’s eye pieces survive today. It’s the kind of project that is a dream for me: honouring a historic tradition, sourcing and collaborating with masters in their fields in order to create a piece of art that can be adored and cherished for a long time to come. 

I make most of my pieces through a process called “lost wax casting,” one of the oldest traditional methods of creating jewellery — objects made in this way have been found in archaeological digs, dating as far back as 3700 BC. I like to combine artisanal methods like this one with both antique stones and stones cut in more modern shapes, for a very particular look. There’s excitement and risk to the crafting of every piece because it’s an act of creation: every new item is one of a kind. My guiding principle is to make the kind of objects I would be drawn to if I saw them: works that are clearly handmade, not necessarily flawless, but which evoke particular feelings and express an individual personality. I want my pieces to be subtle and durable enough to wear daily but meaningful enough to pass down to your grandkids. It’s also important to me to work responsibly: 100 pct of my products is and always will be ethically sourced and sustainable. 

© kelty pelechytik fine jewellery 2020