A concept jewelry brand has just launched in the Netherlands, but don't let the playful name fool you. The label, called & Sparkles, has the potential to revolutionize jewelry design.
& Sparkles was founded by cousins Daniel and Ronald Schipper, who have recently fused successful corporate careers with the Dutch diamond and jewelry legacy that can be traced back generations in their family, turning the traditional business model on its head. They merged their corporate experience with the expertise of designers and artists all over the world, whose backgrounds range from art and fashion to architecture and interior design. Thus, a true partnership between art and commerce was born.
Working closely with customers, who are given creative freedom to customize their pieces as they see fit, the skilled artisans handcraft designer rings and such in gold or platinum, using only conflict-free gems. It's a unique arrangement that draws heavily from the eye and hand of the commissioned craftsmen, so let's meet them...
One of a prominent group of Dutch ceramicists who came of age in the late 1970s, Barbara Nanning's work is particularly celebrated for its organic, natural shapes and robust colors. Over the years, she has researched and experimented with virtually every type of pottery there is, from Japanese terracotta to, most recently, glassblowing. Her collaboration with & Sparkles is expected to push the limits of proportion, color, and quirk.
Jewelry designer Sayaka Yamamoto was born in Japan but moved to the Netherlands in 2005, after graduating from the Hiko Mizuno Jewelry College in Tokyo. Known for using unconventional materials, she often finds inspiration in nature, which she brings to her work with & Sparkles. “I was very happy to be asked,” she says. “I liked the idea of working with high-end luxury jewelry, but with a different approach. With & Sparkles I got the chance to be completely free with materials and techniques. It is ideal.”
Product designer Henk Stallinga founded his studio in 1993 to work on a broad variety of projects ranging from clocks to public spaces. His work can be found in the permanent collections of museums around the world, including MOMA in New York, and he often works for blue-chip brands like Sony, Heineken, and Levi’s. It's precisely because he doesn't have much experience in jewelry design that he jumped at the chance to collaborate with & Sparkles.
Based in Switzerland, goldsmith Christoph Blatter has a long and distinguished history working for major jewelry brands, including Blancpain, Breguet, Jaquet Droz, Léon Hatot, and Gubelin. Now establishing his own aesthetic, Blatter employs an ancient goldsmithing technique practiced by the West African Ashanti people, characterized by a union of purity and antiquity, architecture and ethnology.
Vasily Beglaenko grew up in Russia, the son of jeweler for a father. He always knew jewelry would be his future and from an early age collaborated with companies in Spain, where he now lives. He draws inspiration from literature and likes to blend traditional and conceptual methods. "I often turn to the biographies of great characters," he says. "It is through reading about their tales that I am inspired."
“My jewelry is all designed to follow the body in a natural way," says Zoe Stork, a goldsmith who graduated from Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. "A ring, for example, is always in contact with the fingers next to it. This notion became the focus of my design process."
Caren Pardovitch found her way to jewelry design by way of interior design. She draws much of her inspiration from Central Park and its scenic combination of nature and architecture. While her next project is designing the interior of a five-star boutique hotel in Amsterdam, she promises won't be too preoccupied to create smalls treasures for her clients at & Sparkles.
Growing up in an idyllic town in the south of Holland, Lidy Peters describes herself as a dreamer. She trained to be classical ballerina from a young age, before turning her sights to interior design. She started a company importing high-end Belgian linens and Italian fabrics woven from traditional techniques. While jewelry design is a new endeavor, she clearly has a vision compatible with & Sparkles.
Born in the Middle East and moving to Holland at 15, conceptual artist Melody Deldjou Fard combines her two cultural backgrounds in hr three collections for & Sparkles. "I knew immediately that I wanted to mix a Persian atmosphere with Dutch design," she says. "Connecting a rational Dutch design with a Persian 'One Thousand and One Nights' feeling was my biggest challenge. I’m happy with the results because all three of the collections I designed for & Sparkles reveal a story about my life, from childhood to now."
Suzon Ingber is an established interior specialist who studied at the Henry Van de Velde Institute in Antwerp in the late 60s, before opening her own studio. She's known for imbuing her work with a strong association between concept and narrative. “I think imagining a house, furniture, a dress, or an object entails a similar creative process,” she says. “It is all about finding something that people feel comfortable with, like a second skin."