On the first day of my trip to the East Coast I met the lovely Tura Sugden. I've had her jewels on my radar since around this time last year and I was glad to finally see her designs in person. Tura is a sweetheart. If possible I'd keep her in my pocket. She is easy-going, nice and loves pups. Her jewels are incredible. The craftsmanship, the design, the diamonds - all stunning. Keep an eye on this one, she's going places!
"I studied fine art in college and graduated with a BFA in 2008. I started working with a jeweler while I was still in school, and continued working for her and two other goldsmiths over the course of seven years. I always kept my own studio but I let my own designs and style develop organically, over the course of those seven years. Two years ago I decided to work full-time on my own collection and I’ve been doing that ever since."
"My fabrication philosophy is that the goldsmithing in any piece of jewelry should be as important and as beautiful as the stone and the design itself. I also design with only recycled gold and ethical diamonds; it’s important to me that the collection remains responsibly sourced and be made entirely in my San Francisco studio. This includes design, fabrication, and setting – start to finish. "
"I worked for four years with a German goldsmith who taught me to use a traditional blowpipe for soldering. At first it was daunting; it was like having to learn a new language. But it was full immersion training, and it became second nature quickly. Now it’s what I use for 98% of my soldering jobs. It’s intuitive and I love how natural it feels. It incorporates the power of breath to supply oxygen and a gas (I use propane), which is controlled by a hand-adjusted valve. You’re using your breath and your hands together to control heat, which makes it easier to solder pieces that might otherwise become easily overheated. The only time I use my oxygen tank is when I need to solder something larger that would take a lot of energy to heat."
"The technique is what allowed me to work on a smaller scale. I’ve always had a design aesthetic that favored working small, but until I mastered the blowpipe I couldn’t execute my ideas properly. It was one of those essential elements that you don’t know you’ve been missing until you’ve found it. From there I was really able to build on my soldering and fabrication skills, and the collection started to develop."
"Most of my pieces are one-of-a-kind, so it’s hard to pick a favorite! I especially love earrings and I love pieces that are interesting both technically and visually. Earlier in the year I finished a pair of white gold and green diamond cluster earrings that are both of those things; they are really beautiful and I think they might be one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever made."
"There are so many amazing and inspirational artists and designers! I am obsessed with Nak Armstrong, Polly Wales, and Margery Hirschey. All three of their collections are so perfectly put together and they are just genuinely good people, too. I admire artists that are insightful, talented, and innovative, who live and breathe their collections but who are also generous and open."
Currently listening to: "In the studio my go-to for years has been Florence and the Machine. But I also spend hours every day listening to books on tape (John Irving and Steinbeck are all-time favorites, and I just finished the entire Game of Thrones series) and podcasts (Serial, Mortified if I want to laugh, and my new favorite is Lore)."
Some gorgeous designs by Tura below, more on her website!