Have you ever had friends or family over for a meal, and they’ll be really chatty and loud, but then you serve the food and everything goes quiet? All you hear is the clinking of silverware on plates and you think, “Wow, they must really like it.” That’s how I feel about Brenda Smith’s Gibson Girl earrings.
When it comes to writing, I’m loud and chatty (in person not so much, but on paper sometimes you can’t get me to shut up). When served up this image of the earrings, though, total silence. I was gobsmacked by the look of them, struggling to corral together the right words because there were just too many to settle on.
Are the Gibson Girls playful? Certainly. Luxe? That, too. It’s not that I’ve never seen jewelry with a face before, but I don’t often see pieces so whimsical while using fine materials like these.
There’s really only one person who could adequately put these into words, so I asked their designer, Brenda Smith, to expand upon her inspiration and design process.
“I was inspired by the painting called The Kiss by Gustav Klimt,” says Smith. “When I was in Vienna I had the privilege of going to his studio/gallery. I was intrigued by all the portraits of people that he painted with realistic faces, but the clothing and the backgrounds were geometric shapes. In my mind, I saw gemstones in the background to create those shapes.
“I have a friend who is a master fine artist who does faces in the Italian, millefiori technique. I worked with her to create the desired size and attitude in the faces. Then I had a gemstone cutter encase those faces in crystal quartz. I ‘painted’ the surroundings of the face with multicolored gemstones. I had to be conscious of the amount of gemstones and gold weight so that they would not be too heavy for the ear.”
There are actually three versions of the earrings, each with the different styles of faces hand drawn by Smith: the Gibson Girl (pictured here), an art deco style, and one in Roaring ’20s style. All are in 18k gold, with omega-style earring backs for support.
“My work as an artist is eclectic,” says Smith. “I don’t strive to fit in a preconceived box, but I do strive to push boundaries.”
Top: Gibson Girl earrings in 18k white gold with one-of-a-kind millefiori face by Barbara McGuire, 1.54 cts. t.w. pink tourmaline, 1.11 cts. t.w. blue-green tourmaline, and 0.65 ct. t.w. aquamarines, price on request; Brenda SmithFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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