The possibilities are endless as we play around with more designs for the ‘up-cycled’ RE series. Once again, using old silver bangles, this time we experimented by putting several pieces together, tying them with wire and using an interesting technique of fusing rather than soldering. The aim was for more unpredictable formations, and this was achieved by keeping the temperature high enough so that the joints of the pieces melt and fuse together. The magic touch is added when heating it further actually makes the metal molten in places. Temperature control is key to prevent total melting that would simply deform the ring. It’s a lava-inspired feeling. The result is pretty awesome! It’s chunky-biomorphic and edgy all rolled in one.
All DIAZ Jewelry now comes packaged in a gorgeous silk kimono pouch that fits snuggly in our gift box. Of course, in keeping with our packaging philosophy, the silk used is recycled remnant fabric and the pouches are hand sewn in Japan. We love that each pouch is unique and no two are alike.
[Feb 2012 - Big Island, Hawaii]
On our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, one of the highlights was seeing Kilauea and Mauna Loa, the most active volcano in the world and the biggest volcano in the world. They said we were unlucky to be a couple weeks too late to see any active lava flows, but lucky the levels of sulphur dioxide gas was not high enough to pose any health hazards! Luck aside, we were thrilled to see the fragile volcanic samples displayed at our first stop, the Jaggar Museum at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The resemblance of the meteor-like volcanic ‘spatter’ to our ‘Iwa Rock‘ (that we cast in silver from a little granite rock) is superb!
We couldn’t wait to drive out to see if we could find some of our own samples down Chain of Craters Road, a 23 mile winding paved road through the East Rift and coastal area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This road descends 3,700 feet in 20 miles and ends where a lava flow crossed the road in 2003. It was simply spectacular, and boy, did we get to see some volcanic rock! We stopped every time we saw something surreal; which is quite often on this road where surreal seems to be the norm. We studied the different types of rock and lava formations with childlike intrigue and delight. Chasing a rainbow added to the fun of things!
We were surrounded by samples upon samples of cinder fragments, smooth ‘Pahoehoe’ and jagged ”A-’a’ lava rock, as well as the harder to find delicate droplet-shaped ‘Pele’s Tears’ and the wispy strands of ‘Pele’s Hair’. And with much respect to the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes, everything we picked up was left just where we found it – in the magical, mystical area around the Halemaumau Crater of the Kilauea Volcano, the present home of the goddess, Madame Pele.
We stayed way into the night exploring (the park stays open 24/7). We must add that driving back up the winding path of destruction in total darkness was equally as thrilling and unforgettable as driving down in daylight.
For rock-lovers and collectors, there was nothing tangible we could bring home from the trip, but we did come back with something wonderful yet undefinable on a spiritual level. We gained a renewed sense of respect and admiration for Mother Earth’s power of destruction/creation, and so much invaluable inspiration for new designs.
Mahalo nui loa Hawai’i. A hui hou! —- Thank you, Hawaii for a lovely time. We’ll see you again soon!
The first time I saw the finished Figroot Dome pendant, it reminded me of obidome ornaments – small brooches worn threaded onto the obijime that make a charming decoration on the front of the obi of a kimono. It is said that they were originally worn and made popular by the geisha…
Combining the Figroot Dome pendant with kimono by incorporating reclaimed kimono silk into our collection was perfect. In line with our endless quest for beautiful sustainable materials, it was simply fitting for DIAZ to revive the gorgeous remnant fabric into a unique piece of contemporary jewelry.
The fabric we used for the collection ranges in age from approximately a century to 50 years old and originates from the south-western region of Japan, in and around Kyoto. We’ve hand-braided it to give a rustic, frayed look to the cord, and love that each one is unique and one-of-a-kind…
I’ve always been fascinated with kimonos. My Japanese heritage would probably explain that, but I never actually saw my mother nor my grandmother ever wearing one. As a child, I was captivated by the black and white images of kimono clad ladies in old family portraits and drawn to stories of geisha – images of a lost golden age steeped in rich culture and tradition.
While some kimonos were surprisingly casual and simple, others reserved for formal occasions were elaborately detailed, depicting impressive images of auspicious or celebratory symbolism, almost always including elements from nature and the seasons. More than a picture, the intricate designs spoke stories and read like poems without words. It wasn’t until I’d met my mother-in-law, a seamstress and collector of antique kimono and obi that my love for the magical silk fabric was confirmed. Sitting with her in her studio, blissfully surrounded by piles upon piles of neatly cut strips of kimono silk, hours would melt away as I listened, mesmerized by the stories each set of silken fabric told… This one, over a hundred years old belonged to her great grandmother; this one, a kimono worn by a bride on her wedding day half a century ago; yet another one, an especially pretty one, was custom made for a girl to celebrate her coming of age… the colorful stories matched in depth and beauty with the fabric itself.
Amid the deliciously rich hues of gold, green, red, purple and pink, the sleek black kimonos would always catch my eye. Although all seemingly similar, upon careful inspection in just the right light, I could trace each thread of silk and see a myriad of colors woven into the pure black threads. There are subtle differences in shades and woven patterns, a subtlety so delicate and deliberately subdued – so Japanese! For this reason, the black kimono fabrics are my favorite. Although most would pick the colorful, patterned kimono or obi to represent and demonstrate the beauty of kimono, I would definitely choose the sultry blacks… as I have for Figroot Dome.
What is jewelry? This is a question we come back to time and time again as we ask ourselves why we do what we do.
As much as we are a jewelry brand, we consider ourselves to be ‘designers of wearable symbols’. Look up the word in any dictionary and you’ll get something along the lines of:
• a thing that represents, stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance; especially : a material object representing something abstract, a visible sign of something invisible
This is by far a better description of DIAZ’s jewelry than the word jewelry itself, which is simply defined as “objects of precious metal often set with gems and worn for personal adornment”.
We create jewelry that represent or stand for something abstract. There is always a deeper meaning – a message in each piece. Whether the wearer wishes to convey the message to the world or keep it hidden is at their discretion. To read a piece and uncover its meaning you need to look at all the elements used and go beyond the obvious.
Every DIAZ piece is a symbol.
It’s been a busy but fun-filled couple of weeks hand-crafting the limited edition RE series in the workshop. I’m told what makes making the RE jewelry such a joy is the ‘no-sweat’ approach – that each piece is cut from remnants of a cuff bangle and then hand filed, shaped, hammered and polished with practically no use of heat or machinery.
I think the real charm of it is the fact that although similar in origin, each one ends up being unique in texture, shape and symmetry, and no two ever look exactly alike, giving each a character of its own – just like family! Embracing differences and promoting uniqueness, both in individuals and in jewelry is just the way we like it – no pressure, just go with the flow…
That’s just what we love about this ring, the RE0005. We don’t recall there ever being a rule that said a ring can’t be any other shape but round or that it can’t double as a pendant that doesn’t look like a ring. It’s sleek chic as a pendant on a chain or leather cord, and is super comfortable worn as a ring, alone or stacked, sideways or pointing straight up…
The first batch of rings and pendants have been shipped out of our workshop and are stocked at ECOLS and the TDC Design Gallery (available mid-June) in Hong Kong. They’ll also be available at US-based online jewelry store, Sulusso.com later this summer making RE available to everyone – where ever you may be.
We hope to create more unique additions to the RE family soon as well as expand our brood of awesome retailers.
- Hope you enjoy the current collection as much as we did putting it together…
ECOLS is the first ECO lifestyle store in Hong Kong, offering a great selection of eco art, eco lifestyle products and fashion accessories.
The upcycled RE rings and pendants are created out of ‘flawed’ silver bangles salvaged from the workshop, giving birth to a completely different unique, handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry. In addition to not using ‘virgin’ silver, by manually hammering and shaping the rings and pendants instead of casting recycled silver, the energy consuming processes have been avoided, leaving no footprint behind.
The RE series is fun and beautiful in every way, and they make an awesome gift that shows you really care…
Check out the ECOLS website for more information about their products and eco-ethos, and look for the fantastic new shop on Level 6, The ONE – next to Caffe HABITU…
Be sure to check out the RE series while you’re there!
Modern yet totally traditional, Isamu Noguchi’s Akari lights were made popular way back in the 1950s. Lovely to look at and surprisingly robust, the Akari lights not only fuse Isamu Noguchi’s Japanese and American influences, but art and design, craftsmanship and industry. For the shades, Noguchi used the silky Mino paper that had been made in a nearby village from locally grown mulberry bark since the eighth century. He replaced the wire frames then commonly used in Japanese candlelit lanterns with more traditional bamboo – talk about great sustainable design!
Some lamps were geometric, and others elaborately curved in the biomorphic style of 1950s furniture. Noguchi also enjoyed playing with the centuries-old shapes of the original candlelit lanterns. Like all great lighting designers (and unlike most artists who have become designers), Noguchi knew that the performance of his product, the quality of its light, was just as important as how it looked. His design was also supremely practical. The shade was so pliable that it could be collapsed and packed flat in a box for export. The Mino paper was not only tough, but acquired an endearing patina with age.
Noguchi called the Akari “restless wanderers between the realms of art and design.” They were, and they wandered equally restlessly – yet effectively – between craft and industry, East and West, with successful forays into economic regeneration and sustainability. Not bad for a light.
And for jewelry? We can’t help but see a parallel between Noguchi and our very own designer, Takashi – through his sculptured nature-inspired designs, Takashi attempts to do for contemporary jewelry what Noguchi did for the light.
The Victoria Steam Exposition is a celebration of a growing subculture called steampunk, which unites Victorian era esthetics and futuristic inventions with modern literature and fashion. Steampunk was coined in the late 1970s by the science fiction author K.W. Jeter as a term for the genre he and his contemporaries used to emulate the speculative fiction of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Wells wrote The Time Machine, which fueled a pop culture fascination with time travel and quirky inventors set in theVictorian era.
A steampunk renaissance is happening in fashion. Check out recent issues of fashion magazines and you’ll find editorial homages to Victorian style with a futuristic bent. This may be described as neo-Victorianism – the amalgamation of Victorian esthetic principles with modern sensibilities and technologies. Some have proposed a steampunk philosophy – sometimes with punk-inspired anti-establishment sentiments, and typically bolstered by optimism about human potential. In the Victorian era there was an unbridled optimism about what technology was going to do for society. That’s part of the appeal today with so much changing technology, there’s a quest for authenticity and a genuine understanding of how man/handmade items with a mechanical element work.
Steampunk couture has been replicated by designers such as Alexander McQueen (above ankle bootie from his Spring 2010 collection), John Galliano, Robert Cavalli, Ralph Lauren and Hermes. For a glimpse of the Victorian era esthetic, step into the world of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes or catch the steampunk vibe in Panic! At The Disco’s latest music video: The Ballad of Mona Lisa.
Like other non-mainstream movements, steampunk places great importance on the value of beauty that reflects unusual or antiquated ideals. Steampunk jewelry pieces are often bold and aggressive in appearance, but usually attempts to retain at least an echo of femininity.
We couldn’t help but feel that there’s something very steampunk about the SOL Collections, which bridges intelligent/mechanical/futuristic and unpolished/metallic/antique with subtle biomorphic and feminine undertones…
Look out for more of this vibe in pieces to come…
- RE Experiment – The Molten Ring
- Vintage Kimono Pouches
- The DIAZ Travel Diaries – HAWAII
- DIAZ in SilverStyles Magazine
- The DIAZ Travel Diaries – KYOTO
- Which comes first, the poop or the paper?
- The DIAZ Travel Diaries – ANGKOR WAT
- ‘Artisans d’Angkor’
- DIAZ in Post Magazine – Behind the Label
- Quote of the day