For several seasons, fashion has been all about textures and luxury. From fur to leather to embroidery and other embellishments, unusual accents and layers infuse even simple clothing designs with these two important themes. While jewelry often naturally embodies both themes, Christine Mackellar consciously incorporates them into her design philosophy. Mackellar, a veteran of the craft circuit, creates jewelry with a rich layering of textures and an unusual twist to the two-tone idea made popular by designers like David Yurman and Steven Lagos.
Mackellar’s signature look combines gold and sterling silver in seamless, fused jewelry. The gold accents the pieces by flowing through the sterling like a stream of hot lava. She achieves a similar effect in platinum over gold. The highly sculptural pieces are bold and contemporary, accented with various and often unusual stones. Among her favorite gems this season are those that offer movement and iridescence, such as cat’s eye, moonstone, and boulder opals.
Aptly described by Mackellar as a “kaleidoscope,” each piece aims to capture color, texture, and, especially, movement. Her “River Path” necklace, for example, is a sculptural gold and silver necklace with a variety of stones that showcase the spectrum of green colors by combining boulder opal, tourmaline, and chrome diopside.
Mackellar launched her business in 1984 and is well established in the gallery market. She also supplies several retail jewelry stores.
The pieces in her collection are fabricated with no casting, says the designer, who describes herself as a metalsmith. The metals that make up the majority of the pieces are chosen primarily for the artistic effect of their colors. Mackellar describes her inspiration as often coming from nature and the effect of sunlight reflected on water. Her sculptural pieces are tactile and creative—designed, Mackellar says, for an independent woman.
“These are definitely for an independent thinker,” she says, “someone who doesn’t want to be told what to think.”