Monday, February 17, 2014

NVIT BLANCHE - Designer Spotlight

Evoking the power of material, process and ornament, NVIT BLANCHE is a reminder of why humans have valued jewelry for thousands of years. In the beauty and rarity of materials, fine craftsmanship, symbolic benefits and spiritual or religious meanings, jewelry is both meaningful and persuasive. David Hines, the designer behind NVIT BLANCHE, is creating fascinating jewelry with an extreme dedication to materials and processes as well as an intriguing temporal quality. By featuring materials that have held significance for years and reviving the legacy of ancient techniques, this jewelry is connecting us to bygone times and places. Below is a snap shot of Hines' work thus far with a few question and answers. Enjoy!

NVIT BLANCHE uses high karat precious metals and stones that have been used in jewelry for centuries, including lapis lazuli, turquoise and coral. Time and care is employed in searching for high quality stones, often harvested years ago (such as the below precious coral). The quantity of material is allowed to determine the number of pieces created. For example, the sleeping beauty turquoise took years to source and once the collection is sold, a new gemstone will be explored. 

TPV: In line with your concern for responsible and ethical sourcing of materials, do you ever re-purpose stones or metals?

DAVID HINES: I often use old stones, which are very often not only more ethical to use given environmental and sociological concerns but higher quality. The old cuts of diamonds reflect different aspects of the stones qualities that were previously treasured over the brilliance and fire they are cut for now. It's interesting to me that as our society changes the qualities desired in stones has changed too. Not just from so-called technological developments.  


Strict adherence to ancient techniques of creating jewelry is a respectful nod to the legacy of jewelry making. NVIT BLANCHE's Viking collection represents a re-birth not only in style and material but also in process. The pieces in this collection were made by hand in the same manner as an 11th century goldsmith. Despite the "advanced" jewelry making techniques of today, creating the viking style braided rings in the same manner they originally were is a complicated feet. The decision to adhere to these techniques creates a level of connection between the artisans creating these pieces, as well as the eventual owners, with a culture and a people from one thousand years ago. 

TPV: What collection and/or process has been the most challenging in terms of adhering to ancient techniques?
DAVID HINES: The Anglo Saxon braided collection was very challenging to make. The technique appears to be simple twisting but is in fact quite complex. Ours are made in the same method a goldsmith would have employed a thousand years ago and should a time traveling one wander into our studio would have everything he needs to make the ring as it was done in the 9th century.

The Astronomy collection continues the temporal theme in a new way. Similar to a secret message which requires decoding, these "Star Map" rings re-create a piece of the sky as it was on a specific date at a specific place. Highly personal rings, it would be lovely to stack them over time to commemorate events such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Tracking the stars in the sky is an old tradition but wearing them in this way is a totally new one!


TPV: What stone(s) or material are you working with for your next collection? You have given some hints via Instagram of your interest with 16th and 17th century mourning jewelry. Can you comment on what we may be seeing from you in the future? 
DAVID HINES: I tend to work in multiple series simultaneously which overlap and influence one another. I've been doing the Anglo Saxon braided gold and Astronomy based on accurate star map ones most recently but have several other tangentially related ones in the works. Octahedral diamonds which are how diamonds were first used in rings are part of one and cushion cuts are part of another. I like to have the counterpoints of ancient and modern at play within my collections. Several other ancient and modern techniques will go into these works so a feeling of familiarity will exist while the actual objects are unlike anything else when completed. I don't really like signet or diamond rings for men so I am trying to make a type of ring that combines elements of both into something I do like.

Hines' "Bloody Knuckles" rings (pictured below) won the Platinum Men's Wear award in this year's AGTA Spectrum & Cutting Edge Awards hosted by the American Gem Trade Association.  
---"These rings are designed to wear one on each middle finger as a pair of bloody knuckles.  As much sculpture as jewelry, they are cast platinum and burnish set with natural rubies weighing 1.00-1.25 tcw. Throughout history hexagons have quietly shown up in nature and art.  The shape of a beehive’s honeycomb is hexagon, a turtle’s carapace, snowflakes and the cloud systems that move over the north polar face of Saturn all use the shape. These rings look to that strength of structure while also evoking the violence of nature."

Bloody Knuckles rings in platinum with 1 ct. t.w. mirror-set rubies by David Hines, Nvit Blanche

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