I have always believed that jewelry should be deeply personal. It's very different from clothing for me--there's something about how it interacts with and draws warmth from the body. As long as you're wearing it, it's a part of you. By that logic, you shouldn't wear jewelry unless it means something to you or says something about who you are and from whence you've come...I admire pretty things, naturally, but I rarely buy them. Jewelry for me has to have history, mystery, magic.
Which is why Derrick R. Cruz, creator of Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons, is an inspiration to me. Besides being a fellow Brooklyner, Cruz approaches his craft with nearly anagogic devotion. Using ancient methods and technologies like scrimshaw on rare materials (pre-ban vintage ivory, fossilized ammonite and Siberian woolly mammoth tusk bark,) he explores the accessory's power as an extension of the body. 'Under the influence of funerary crafts, alchemical studies, and Native American mythology, Cruz honors the past with rigorous research and meticulous execution.' He invites the wearer to become part of the process of creation; one of his pieces, for example, a necklace entitled 'The Abandoned Comb,' arrives encapsulated in a pyramid of sugar-glass, sealed in an airtight bell jar. The recipient must choose to either break the seal and shatter the glass in order to obtain and wear the necklace, or else leave it to be admired as an objet d'art.
'I want people to become fetishists; to take a moment and consider what makes an object special, down to its imperfections and packaging...maybe even allow a piece to incite meaning, like an amulet or old myth might.' - DRC
Yeah I know, sometimes this kind of rhetoric can come across as excessively sanctimonious, phony even (if you reflect on the fact that all this talk of rarity and mysticism is a strategy for selling accessories at a higher price..) but even if this isn't your cup of tea, at the very least the care he takes in fashioning these pieces commands respect. Ultimately, this artisan's work exemplifies a fervent belief in the beauty of old, dark things.
Leather and vintage ivory and ebony breastplates.