Jewelry Designer Spotlight: Dana Kellin

Dana Kellin Earrings

Dana Kellin 14kt yellow gold wire-wrapped earrings with diamonds.

Do you ever get that feeling, looking at a piece of jewelry? You know, where you get a little quiver in the pit of your stomach and realize you’ve seen something quite extraordinary? That’s how I felt seeing the jewelry of Dana Kellin.

This is sinuous, fluid, feminine jewelry. The wrapping is mesmerizing: you want to touch it. The way that the gemstones are woven into the metal is beyond the craft you’ve seen at art fairs. As Dana Kellin says, it’s a “labor of love”.

At the Couture Jewelry Show, the designers introduced a collection made in 14kt gold. Dana Kellin, which was founded by Dana and her partner, Elizabeth Kellin, has been producing meticulous, handmade jewelry for 18 years. Previous collections were made of gold-filled wire or sterling silver with precious and semi-precious gemstones. The new collections in 14kt gold are a natural direction for their style that has been organically evolving over the years.

Dana Kellin necklace

Dana Kellin 14kt necklace with brown diamonds, grey diamonds and freshwater pearls.

Dana Kellin Collection for Fall 2012

The jewelry of Dana Kellin is pure, organic form. From a distance, it appears to be textured gold frames surrounding open space or gemstones. But on closer inspection, the details come into relief: the tightly wrapped gold is the form, artfully holding gemstones into place. The gemstones themselves are often revealed to be drilled through, woven through on tiny gold threads, and gleaming like dew drops on a web of gold. Some slices of gemstones are used that have interesting internal patterns, like rutile needles or threads weaving a pattern. There is drama and tension between gold used with dark gems, but there are also pieces incorporating graduated hues of blues or greens.

Dana comments on her inspiration, “Nature is always my primary source of inspiration but particularly for this line. The irregular, sometimes amorphous shapes are a reflection of things one might find on a nature walk: leaves, acorns, seashells to name a few.”

Dana Kellin Bracelet

Dana Kellin 14kt bracelet with faceted labradorite.

Dana Kellin Interview

idazzle: Why did you choose to launch a fine 14kt line right now?
Dana Kellin: It was long overdue. Elizabeth and I have been talking about it for years but my kids were too young for me to invest myself in a new venture. Last year we decided we would launch this summer. Our research revealed a big void in the market for unique, handmade, fine jewelry $5,000 and under.

Dana Kellin Earrings

Dana Kellin 14kt earrings.

How was the Couture Show for you?

The collection was received with overwhelming enthusiasm. Buyers loved the everyday wearability, the femininity, the graceful asymmetry, the workmanship and the layerability. Buyers commented that there was nothing else like this at Couture. They were also happy with the prices, $300 – $3825 retail.

Where is your jewelry made?

Everything is hand made in our Los Angeles studio. We have very talented people on staff who have an incredible attention to detail and enormous pride in their work. Many have been with us for over 10 years! Elizabeth and I are very lucky to work with them.

Dana Kellin Earrings

Dana Kellin 14kt earrings with blue diamonds, blue topaz, sapphires and freshwater pearls.

Did your new launch require different artisans or a change in your production process?
The collection is being produced very strategically with each style assigned to a specific artisan. Everyone on staff has particular specialties and they each bring them to the new line. The process itself is different in that it is intentionally rough-hewn in many of the pieces. What is ironic is that it is actually more time consuming than the very precise looking styles. Anything that looks effortless is always the most labor intensive!

I have learned that over the years! Do you have a favorite gemstone or material right now? Or favorite new piece?
I am really into custom cuts like the smoky faceted “flame” shape I used in an earring and a necklace style this season. I’m also loving all of the leaf shapes. They are so natural looking and at the same time, extremely sexy. I love that combination.

Dana Kellin necklace

Dana Kellin 14kt necklace with diamonds.

Since your jewelry is so tactile and detailed, where can we see your designs?
G. Thrapp Jewelers, Stanley Korshak, Artisan Japan and Neiman Marcus

Thank you, Dana and Elizabeth, for sharing your latest designs with us! They are creating amazing, hand-made designs with such care, I wish them luck with their new launch!

Dana Kellin Earrings

Dana Kellin 14kt earrings with grey diamonds.

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