5 Takeaways for Retailers From the “LOOT: MAD About Jewelry” Exhibition

The “LOOT: MAD About Jewelry” contemporary jewelry exhibition and sale wrapped at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City on April 13. Featuring lots of beautiful works, avant-garde designs, and a few head-scratchers, the show is in its 19th edition. The pieces on display, representing 55 designers from 18 countries, offered takeaways for any retailer.

Tie It Back to Tradition

Some designers tied contemporary designs back to their countries of origin, updating centuries, if not millennia, of artisanal tradition. While beautiful on their own, the works took on heightened meaning when their stories were shared. Thailand’s Apinya Oo Boonprakob turned woodblock stamps into bead-encrusted jewelry; Italy’s Anna Porcu re-crafted authentic vintage cameos with modern leather cuffs; and Chile’s Rita Soto created lightweight baubles with her country’s horsehair micro-basketry techniques.

Anna Porcu cuff with antique shell cameo in leather
Anna Porcu’s one-of-a-kind cuff with antique cameo in leather

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment With Materials

Sure there’s a place for precious metals on the jeweler’s shelf, but don’t be afraid to make room for less conventional materials. Japan-born Mariko Kusumoto took fabric art to the fun house with her encapsulated 3-D creations. Berlin-based Alena Willroth’s intricate polyethylene forms were an homage to nature—and a testament to her patience, as she hand-cuts each one.

Alena Willroth Dragon Fly Spoons necklace hand-cut and heated polyethylene foil
Alena Willroth’s Dragon Fly Spoons necklace of hand-cut and heated polyethylene foil

Game of Thrones Is Coming…and Ending

The final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones has begun, so get ready for lots of feuding, murder, and heavy metal. Jewelry like Alison Evans’ chain mail necklace or Kira Fritsch’s oxidized ring might just help your customers fill the void once the show departs for good.

Kira Fritsch ring in blackened silver
Kira Fritsch’s ring in blackened silver

Rethink Evening Jewelry

Why not explore jewelry that lights up in the dark? China-born Wanshu Li’s sea anemone–inspired jewelry features fluorescent plastic that glows when you shine UV light on it. The conversational bright idea is sure to put your store in the spotlight.

Wanshu Li Go With the Glow Pendant
Wanshu Li’s Go With the Glow Pendant in acrylic and sterling silver with fluorescent plastic sequins and glass beads on UV-reactive nylon wire

Sustainability Is Beautiful

Let jewelry breathe new life into upcycled materials. Take the gilded jewelry constructed from picture-frame remnants by Turkey’s Leyla Taranto or U.S.-based Tara Locklear’s repurposed skateboards. Reuse, recycle, respect!

Leyla Taranto Remains necklace painted picture frame remnants
Leyla Taranto’s Remains necklace of painted picture-frame remnants

Top: Tara Locklear earrings made of repurposed skateboards

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