Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Fall into Fashion with Stunning Statement Necklaces by History + Industry

Welcome to Seattle, Washington, the "emerald city" and origin of our exquisite necklaces by designer Irene Wood of History + Industry. Featuring impeccably chic, modern silhouettes inspired by cultural history, these pieces are a simultaneous style statement and an artistic innovation. Step inside our jeweler's studio for a glimpse into her creative process fusing fashion, design, history and modernity. You're in for inspiration in this edition of "How it's Made."

Wood's jewelry obsession emerged at a young age, viewing cultural artifacts and antiquities while traveling the world with her family.  By age 18, she'd begun collecting and had boxes of amber and citrine from Cairo, a plethora of rough-cut glass beads from Istanbul, jade from Malaysia and China, and seed beads from Kenya. Irene explains, "the colors, shapes and textures would send me off to a magical, imaginative world for hours." The hours became days, then weeks, then years.

She first sketches then assembles all of her designs by hand using semi-precious stones, locally sourced beads, metals and polymer clay. Though each piece is different, the shapes of the beads frequently dictate the architecture of each necklace.

Irene describes the design process as being "very much like a creative puzzle." While discovering how particular colors, shapes and sizes play off of each other, the patterns and personalities of individual pieces begin to emerge.

In 2011, Irene set out to create large statement pieces reminiscent of the jewels of antiquity she had seen throughout the world. Over the past 7 years, her collections have consistently evolved while maintaining their origins in the myriad cultures that continue to inspire her.

Antimony Necklace

That all sounds like the collection of a certain encyclopedic museum to us!

To explore Irene's funky, fierce designs, click here:

To view our entire collection of unique gifts, visit the Museum Shop online: 

Proceeds from all purchases support the Art Institute of Chicago's many programs.

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