Earrings by Joy Creative
Jewelry is eye-catching, outfit-making (or breaking) stuff. When it's done well, it's akin to teeny-tiny works of art. Finding out about the artists who created these mini masterpieces—and maybe even why they created them—makes donning these looks even cooler. And you can do just that when the designs come from your own backyard. There are a handful of small shops showcasing the works of San Diego artisans, such as:
Hunt and Gather (4496 Park Blvd. in University Heights) is a small space packed with vintage and vintage-inspired goodness (and records!), including a whole lot of local jewelry. Grammatique is a favorite—Hunt and Gather has an extensive selection of Krystina Grammatica's line of up-cycled and remixed jewelry, including earrings, bracelets, necklaces and headbands made from old albums, feathers and other found objects. Elisa Gonsalves has two disparate sides to her jewelry—some are delicate, floral-inspired works, while others are the exact opposite: chunky mixed-metal chains. Both are equally gorgeous. Serene Griffin uses radiant Virgin Marys and chunky beads, but in highly unexpected ways. Joy Creative does a lot of fairly traditional bead jewelry, but when she adds wood into the mix, her work becomes something else entirely. The mix at Hunt and Gather runs from darling and fairly cheap to modern and impetuous.
North Park's Pigment (3827 30th St.) is a hipster gift emporium. Filled with a well-curated book selection, gorgeous glass and ceramic planters and probably the largest selection of local jewelry outside of a North Park Craft Mafia fair. Almost everyone I know boasts at least one piece of Tara Gasparian's jewelry, and if you can't get to one of her shows, Pigment is the next best place to find her Mexican-inspired earrings, bracelets and rings made with vintage finds. Tammy Spencer's wirework is stunning—these are statement necklaces that are wearable with any ensemble you could put together (save for your running gear). I covet them. The enamel necklaces by enAMel (designed by architect Amy Martorano) are truly tiny pieces of art. And they can be put on with just one hand—a nifty little trick. Furniture maker Miki Iwasaki's wood rings and pendants are the antithesis of precious—sturdy, solid and sophisticated. Stacy Buckley also works in wood, as well as bone, and the pieces have an easy-to-wear yet sculptural feel.
In Little Italy, among the cute little shops that line Fir Street, you'll find a beauty salon / boutique called Be Beauty (621 West Fir St.). The day I dropped in, Kym Rodger of Krodger3 was fitting the owner with a one-of-a-kind Miyazaki-esque snow-white princess necklace for her upcoming wedding. Each of her pieces has its own story. Malia Okamura of Miyo uses vintage records to create decidedly '80s jewelry that's begging to be paired with bright dresses and tights. And after looking at so much jewelry, it's hard to get surprised, but that's just what Noelia Pahissa's felt flower necklaces did—they shock-and-awed me with their lopsided loveliness. Outfit-making indeed.
Urban Scout is CityBeat's biweekly shopping-and-trends column. If you have tips or suggestions, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.