Posted on June 16, 2011
Scott Kay’s spiritual side has been surfacing more and more in the last few years. In fact, it was 2008 when he first unveiled some striking and artfully made Christianity-inspired jewels (part of his Faith Collection) that were hand-sculpted in vivid detail: beads of sweat rolling off the face of Christ are evident in one piece. Some Couture showgoers were so stunned that one Southerner urged JCK to “go see the Jesus jewelry” at Scott Kay.
Kay’s reply to all the buzz: “Everything is going to be okay.”
“When the economy started crashing, there was so much negativity around—everywhere you turned—that I felt inspired to create the Faith collection,” he explained to JCK in a phone interview yesterday. “I wanted to give people faith, not just in the religious sense, but also in each other. To have faith and to believe in faith is a very healthy thing to do, and as we become more diluted as a society, I’m designing more pieces that have messages and meaning.”
His latest—and most prideful piece designed this year—is Protecting the Cross, a pendant partially sculpted and partially cast in silver and 18k gold vermeil, which was inspired by human spirituality and guardian angels. Kay and his design team sketched the design with pencil and paper—no CAD—and completed eight wax models before a final version emerged. Kay’s goal: to get the angel’s head resting properly on the cross, and the wings—each hand-feathered by master engravers—exactingly outstretched, like arms enveloping and “protecting the cross,” hence the name. Eight months passed before a final pendant was available for wear. “This is jewelry through meaning, designing through feelings,” he observes.
Photo by Scott Pearson
One irony in all this: Kay is Jewish. “My wife is Catholic, and my son had a Bar Mitzvah and goes to Catholic high school,” he says. “I always have respect for other religions and their convictions, and I’m inspired by their convictions. I think my overlying message to people is ‘to believe’. I look forward to telling stories about Judaism, but right now this is where I am.”
Spirituality is now so deep-seeded in Kay’s studio that he also unveiled an engagement ring collection featuring religious imagery, called Heaven’s Gates, this year to compliment the Guardian collection, and, his Code collection of men’s bands emblazoned God, Strength, Honor. “Now all of my collections—bridal and fashion—are interconnected by spirituality,” he says.
And while some may roll their eyes upon hearing Kay, a successful brand and businessman for 25-plus years, say he’s not making these religious pieces for “commercial reasons,” consider this: Another pendant, sold for just $250 retail, he unveiled last year took 16 months to perfect. “The artists of the past took their time, and that’s what I want my jewelry to reflect,” he says.
Protecting the Cross in sterling silver or 18k gold vermeil has black sapphires and is currently priced at $1,750, but cost is subject to change with the volatile metals market.
Back side of the piece
Photo by Scott Pearson