The jewelry industry is rapidly expanding. All over the globe, many people are deciding that instead of pouring money into the pockets of large corporations, they’d rather pour their hard-earned dollars into their own creations. This also means that a lot of beloved jewelry addicts (such as myself) are able to request dope, cutting-edge made to order pieces from the best the jewelry game has to offer. SoulTrain.com takes a look at the top 5 independent jewelry designers who make the flyest and most affordable pieces around.
Diligent Hands is run by a young lady from Atlanta. Her art is apparent material of choice is wood and the whole feel of her pieces are very “au naturale”. What I love most about Diligent Hands customs is there is a theme of duality running through a lot of her pieces. Take the earrings for example: Both earrings may be completely different visually but the ensemble as a whole is a perfect marriage. There is currently a sale on her website, so hurry across and pick up a bargain for as little as $11.
Diligent Hands: “Custom jewelry is where art and fashion meet. Anyone can walk into a store, purchase a commercial piece of jewelry and most certainly find contentment with it. A number of my customers enjoy the option of designing their pieces and having them made to their specifications because that piece becomes a true reflection of the person. I have had my customers tell me that my pieces have power. My belief is that it is the intention that they feel. I start a piece with a purpose. I work a piece with an intention. If it says “FLY” on the back, I am pouring “FLY” energy into it the entire time I am working it. A custom piece has a higher purpose. It is the evolution of adornment.”
Camille Peace was featured by Soultrain.com last year and is so in demand these days that I’m pretty sure she never leaves the “lab”. I love PeaceImages jewelry not only because an incredible amount of time, love and detail goes into every single “Peace”, but also lots of beautiful, exotic feathers and images of the motherland. I’ve ordered several customs from PeaceImages and they are indeed timeless. Prices start from $10 upwards.
What do J Cole, 9th Wonder, CyHi Da Prynce and Mac Miller all have in common? Well, apart from being dope hip-hop artists, they all have a custom Woodville INC creation. These guys cover everything. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing they couldn’t carve out of wood. Hailing from North Carolina, Woodville INC appears to have the industry on lock. Small beaded bracelets are available for $5 and up. You can get yourself a fly wooden chain from around $20.
UttaKAOS jewelry is every hip-hop lover’s dream. Every piece takes me back to my childhood, the days of the old school cassette tapes and the pencils (Yes. They are very closely related). Admittedly, cassette tapes used to frustrate the living daylights out of me as the actual tape would always unravel in my cassette player and I’d have to manually rewind it using a biro pen or pencil. Seemed like such hard work back then. Meet Kalae, aka Kalae All Day, the hippie rockstar/ rapper/ designer who has found one of the cutest ways of bringing these old relics into the 21st century. Kalae can pimp the bajeezers out of a Memorex, and bold golds and rope chains for the fans of the golden age hip-hop. Perhaps you’re on more of a youthful hipster vibe and need something insanely colourful. UttaKAOS can make it happen. Pieces seem to be roughly around the $50 mark, which is most definitely a bargain. Get yourself a custom cassette today!
Kalae: “I’m a rapper. I’m a fashionista. I’m a creator. Putting my 3 best talents to work, UttaKAOS was a labor of love created through hip-hop and more importantly, bling bling. The thought of all my (and others’) tapes going to waste because of mp3s didn’t sit well in my stomach. I took action and made sure this staple of hip- hop music always stayed close to our hearts. Whether we have to hang it there, or pin it… Readers should buy one (or more) of my creations because it’s a piece of their history. It’s a piece of hip-hop. The nostalgia, the music, the love, the memories… It just feels good. “
Most of the jewelers featured create using wood as their main material. Tirana’s metalwork is pretty trippy: Cogs, mini scissors, and more cogs give a cool, edgy feel to this line. We have come such a long way with our accessories. Perhaps once upon a time, this type of art would have been labelled as “Gothic”, but we as a whole have become far more cosmopolitan with our add-ons and our minds have become almost as creative as the designers’. Tirana Jewelry (based in New York) is a favorite of many celebrities and ships to stores all over the world, including Mexico City and even right here in London. Tirana Jewelry has been featured in Teen Vogue, InStyle and The New York Times. Slightly heavier on the pocket, a Tirana creation is going to set you back a minimum of $100. The average is nearly double that but well worth it.
Ayara Pommells started off writing for a small D.C.-based hip-hop website in 2010. She co-owns UK website Rawroots.com and is also a music writer for @Soultrain and @stupidDOPE, @Earmilk and @soulculture. Ayara is the publicist for Detroit musicians John “Illa J” Yancey, Moonchild and Dungeon Family/ Street Executive emcee Adrift Da Belle. Follow her on Twitter @iAmaButtafly.