Sunday, January 1, 2012

Nick Von K: Beautiful Alchemy

This is the final collection to write about from the New Zealand jewellery label Nick Von K and features more gorgeous bone motifs as well as pounamu sculpted pieces of jewellery. There's a distinctly international flavour to the pieces; Mexican style scrolling across skulls and snake heads as well as a babushka doll! The unifying motif is the bones, bullet shells and skulls reminding us of our imminent deaths. It's not all doom and gloom though, this lovely bone cuff isn't as morose as it could be with the ends softened and not looking as touch and angular. There's a lot of weight and thickness about this bangle- I bet it could happily survive many knocks when going about doing ordinary day-to-day tasks. At $480 NZ, I will have to wait till I find some more shifts and work for myself.


The added chains to either side of the horns on these cow skulls give added security and stability to the design. While there would be some empty spaces to allow for the eye sockets would spare your poor ear lobes some weight but by adding the simple chains, you can have dangling cow skulls without them hanging askew. While having cow skulls involved in jewellery design is rare in itself, I do admire the thought taken into designing something as small as these earrings. What will they think of next?




This is the piece that really captured my imagination from this collection of Nick Von K, Inside your babushka comes a little carved pounamu babushka inside, but be warned as only the sterling silver outer casing can be worn as a pendant and its precious contents may be safer left at home on your bedside table before you go. What strikes me as odd is the Russian style wooden doll adapted with Mexican style scrolling and fitted out with a skull for a face. I can't really say I'm surprised though, having poured my eyes over every piece currently available online at the Nick Von K store the use of oxidation to blacken the body as well as the skull face and scrolling lines is polished silver are typical to this New Zealand jeweller. It was the first piece in this collection, Beautiful Alchemy, that grabbed me but I'm not sure I admire the detail on the pounamu babushka inside the photograph above looks a little lopsided to me. Also, after having written about the Garden of Eden collection I have a small fetish at the moment for snakes and reptilian.


This Mexican style snake head has a little more favour with me at the moment I'm not sure what it is definitively but ever since examining the small carved snake head necklace in turquoise I think the way Nick Von K carves the scales as well as the all important stylising of the eye is what really grabs me. It's 3.5cm in length and hangs on a 75cm long silver chain and is a typical medium/ large sized piece from the Kiwi brand. The lighting and scrolling effect almost makes the silver have a look that is similar to rose gold but make no mistake of the materials used, this is definitely silver and features a Mexican style snake head. The thing I like most about their snake heads is the fact that the look almost classy and are unique, different from anything I've seen from other brands. Hearts and bows can be done to death but it's the ground-breaking new styles and design pieces made of high quality precious metals that will win in the hearts of the young and tragically hip.


Hand carved pounamu bullet tip on genuine .308 antique plated shell casing on a 75cm stg silver chain.
Available in onyx and greenstone. (7.5cm)

Nick Von K have a habit of surprising me with the materials they use, the most shocking was a necklace carved using mammoth tusk but to use an actual antique bullet shell as a part of their pendant designs is also new to me. I have already claimed that Unearthen's range of bullet shell's stuffed with chunks of raw crystal quartz was my cup of tea but I can't resist the length of this pieces as well as the neat little nub of pounamu stone shown above. I'm also a little keen to get my hands on one of these pieces for the great little tag on each clasp which features 'Nick Von K' on one side and a crown on the other, as well as the rectangular shape of each link.

A snake shown eating its own tail has been used in mythology for centuries to represent the cycle of life and there are legends of a large snake living below the surface of the Earth having eaten its own tail in all the colours of the rainbow. While this little fella is not nearly as colourful as his legendary counter part, once again, Nick Von K has managed to woe me with fantastic and enticing detail of scales on their reptile pieces. Another ring which would make a magnificent cocktail ring, the beady eyes as well as lack of fangs of the snake prevent it from reaching it's peak intimidating and scary nature.

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