Jewelry Design

Exploring the Parallels

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Ever think to yourself, well, the only real difference between fabricating a sconce and a jeweler crafting an earring would be the addition of electricity? Buffalo Bannon’s craft is comparable to that of three different lighting manufacturers based in New York City: Apparatus Studio, Workstead, and Bec Brittain. There may be a drastic difference between the grand scale of a light fixture and the finer scale of a jewelry object, but these two forms of craft are virtually part of the same world and elements can be found in both that embody one another.

Is that Jewelry─or is that Lighting?

Is that Jewelry─or is that Lighting?

Apparatus Studio, out of Manhattan, has honed in sensual materials like marble, suede, horsehair, lacquer and semi-precious stones. They combine them with patinated metals to create ambient objects that serve as the final touches to an interior. Their collection titled ‘Talisman’, refers to an object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck. Buffalo Bannon’s collections too encompass semi-precious stones which can be known to provide balance in your life and sometimes even hold healing powers. These fixtures align in a very strict arrangement of either beige agate, grey jade, white jade or desert jasper beads and are pierced finely by fluted pins─your choice of aged brass, oil rubbed bronze, blackened brass or lastyl tarnished silver, of course, with a 30% upcharge. The essence of the 14 pendant is reminiscent of a necklace, except that it hangs above your dining table, and the loop sconce delicately dangles as though it were an earring, just at a much larger scale. This collection ranges from $2,200 for their 1 sconce, $5,400 for their loop scope, and a worth-every-penny $16,800 for their 14 pendant. The handcrafted artisan quality, seen in both Buffalo Bannon’s collections and Apparatus Studio convey thoughtfulness and add a certain charm one that is not prevalent in machine made jewelry or lighting.

The Sconce as an Earring, The Pendant as a Necklace.

The Sconce as an Earring, The Pendant as a Necklace.

Workstead is another lighting design team, much more fairly priced than its competitor above, that seems to have captured the elements of jewelry making─providing an ethereal, yet affordable set of ambient objects to the lighting market. Their collection titled ‘Signal’ is available in a sconce, flush-mount, or pendant and ranges from $875 to $1075. The hand blown glass globe with a sandblasted finish sits delicately within two metal pins creating a hieroglyphic composition that feels as if it were a prong setting welded or soldered over a stone. This collection is certainly beautiful and defines itself as jewelry within lighting, but does not have the same rare quality of Tess’ hand or Apparatus’ careful attention to craft. Still, this collection by Workstead serves as an example of how a sconce can appear like an earring or a pendant and can have the same details as a necklace.

That Which Falls Uniquely.

That Which Falls Uniquely.

Still not convinced? Well the Helix collection, represents objects with three-dimensional shapes, like that of a wire wound uniformly in a single layer, comparatively to a corkscrew or spiral staircase. This collection by Bec Brittain stands to neither here nor there. Bec is a self-taught, Brooklyn-based designer, who engineers the expressions of her very own ideas, much like Tess’ free-spirited sense of self that has developed the vibe behind Buffalo Bannon. The Helix collection by Bec Brittain, which frankly is hard to immediately understand, is unlike anything else on the market and has come to serve that lighting, normally taken for granted, can be just as expressive as any of the arts. The Helix Hanging comes with a stone counterweight, much like a pendant that would hang around one's neck. Available in the widest variety of finishes─with polished copper and black marble being my absolute favorite combination─and a price point starting at $6,900 for the short version. In addition to the various collections available through Bec Brittain, she has taken on site-specific challenges too─designing custom tailored pieces for clients, just as Buffalo Bannon will carry out your special order requests, developing for you a customized product that would not available to anyone else. The Helix collection is completely unique and truly feels like a pair of earrings, one slightly different than the other, that sway to and from the ceiling.

About our Metals

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Considering to invest in a new piece of jewelry? Both designers and fellow buyers alike will tell you to go for something unique, something durable, something timeless.

Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% silver, and 7.5% other metal alloys, primarily copper. When it comes to designing jewelry, many designers opt to incorporate sterling silver and here is why:


1.     Durability – Sterling silver, when cared for correctly, can last a lifetime. Designers who choose to use sterling silver in their pieces are choosing to ensure an everlasting design despite the number of family members it may be passed down to.


2.     On Trend – Sterling silver will always be in style, no matter the current trend. The popularity of the material guarantees to pair nicely with any seasons new trend. 


3.     Flexibility – Sterling silver is a relatively soft metal, which makes it easier for designers to work with. It allows for many molds and combinations, which results in constant new designs and opportunities for creativity.


4.     Versatility – Sterling silver can be considered appropriate for any occasion. Date night, grocery shopping, day-to-day at the office. The color will couple well with other pieces within your collection like white gold or platinum, while also spicing up your daily wardrobe.


5.     Hypoallergenic – Sterling silver does not contain any metal additions that may cause skin irritations (unlike nickel, brass, and other base metals). This is a game changer for individuals with sensitive skin, or who are prone to infection for piercings.


6.     Maintenance – Sterling silver can tarnish. Simply wearing the jewelry will “clean” the metal from our bodies natural oils, however, if it stays in a jewelry box for too long, there are alternative options. You can store-buy or DIY your own jewelry cleaner to keep your jewelry looking as fresh as the day you bought it.


Sterling silver (especially in our case of small business) has continued to prove itself as unique, durable, and timeless. Sure, it may be worth more than a fun pair of earrings you might purchase at your local department store. But the uniqueness, creativity, labor, and love that goes in to each and every sterling silver based piece at Buffalo Bannon Jewelry Designs is worth every penny.

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