By Ashley Davis
Space is a recurrent theme for designer Solange Azagury-Partridge. In her latest collection, Poptails, she took her love of space to a new dimension with pieces like this Space Station ring.

New York--In a case of life inspiring art, contemporary space exploration is making its cultural influence felt through recent work by a number of jewelry designers.

While five-point stars and crescent moons have long been ubiquitous design motifs, designers today are evoking the unknown aspects of outer space in their creations.

Space ships, planets and even aliens are being interpreted in gold, diamonds and other precious gemstones, as are the abstract curves and lines society has come to visually associate with the future.

Vram Minassian, the designer of namesake brand Vram Jewelry, has created a series of abstract jewels redolent of space ships or planets, depending on the interpretation.

He explained that his space-inspired designs, “are tapping into something more essential than the futuristic visions that I grew up around: Star Wars, Dune and The Jetsons, for example.

“The pop culture around the future is very powerful, but very much rooted in the time that it is created, both politically and stylistically. I want to give my pieces a flavor of the unseen cosmic forces beyond human control: magnetism, gravity, the passage of time itself.”

While the space race of the 1950s and 1960s fueled the public’s appetite for the media Minassian mentioned, renewed space travel efforts from companies like Space X have reignited the cultural fascination with the universe beyond Earth’s atmosphere, with today’s designers focusing on the uncharted and undiscovered.
“If there is one thing lacking in this world--one reason for inertia in society--it is too little imagination.” – Vram Minassian, designer of Vram Jewelry
“I have always been fascinated by the endless beauty, wonders and mystery of our universe,” said Alina Abegg, whose debut collection, out last year, takes a conversely kitschy and elegant approach to visual space themes, most notably with its Alien ring.

Abegg explained: “The cosmos is still one of human beings’ least explored spaces and I was especially intrigued by the romantic ideal of the galaxy being our final frontier. The quest to reach beyond the confines of our world has driven human space exploration, and I believe that the idea of being able to visit and eventually inhabit other planets doesn’t seem as far away as it used to.”

Minassian said that for designers, space as a subject provides a blank canvas of creative possibility.

“The idea of the future is of extreme importance because it exercises the imagination,” he mused. “If there is one thing lacking in this world--one reason for inertia in society--it is too little imagination. I love how Nietzsche said, ‘The future influences the present just as much as the past.’

“There are so many ways to think about the implications of that statement. I think it is important to use the imagination to push boundaries in whatever arena one exists and mine is jewelry.”

Solange Azagury-Partridge also cites space as a catalyst for her imagination.

“I like to read and research subjects that are not part of my everyday life and that I don’t completely understand, but that I find fascinating in their mind-boggling nature,” she said. “This sparks ideas, which I translate into drawings or descriptions of pieces that I work on with my team to refine until it’s ready to produce.”

The space-inspired jewelry trend manifests itself both literally and abstractly, depending on the designer, and Azagury-Partridge exemplifies the former.
“(Space is) an undiscovered environment and so inspires an endless curiosity, which may never be satisfied.” – Solange Azagury-Partridge
She revealed her Space Station ring--a confection of color via emeralds and bright ceramic plating and lacquer--earlier this year, as part of her Poptails collection. The cosmos has been a recurring theme for the designer and, in her opinion, is a timeless topic.

“Space and the cosmos always have been and will be relevant,” she emphasized. “Stars were used as guiding points from the earliest years of humanity. Many religions mention stars and deities from above. The stars and sky are one of nature’s most iconic recurring themes in art, literature and science. It's an undiscovered environment and so inspires an endless curiosity, which may never be satisfied.”

Azagury-Partridge also referenced the concept of inner space and scale, which she’s investigated in previous collections. “Seeing things at an atomic and molecular level are equally inspiring,” she said.

Kismet by Milka’s designer Milka Karaagacli counts celestial shapes as design go-tos, but took the theme a step further at the Couture show this year, introducing a new collection filled with astronauts, rocket ships and meteors.

Karaagacli’s interest in space is knit with her belief in the evolving role of the contemporary woman.

20170623 Futuristic 1insert copyHere, a space-inspired style from EYE M by Ileana Makri

For her, the former is a metaphor for the latter. Exploration of the unknown represents females’ exploration of their own power.

“Space is a limitless, undiscovered area--and a huge one. I think it’s akin to womankind’s potential,” she said. “The future belongs to women and our roles will continue to advance. I can feel it. The limitlessness of space influences me a great deal, and I believe women should be able to discern this great, undiscovered, space-like potential within themselves.”

Some other jewelry designers who visually interpret space abstractly, like Minassian, include Elie Top, whose mechanical, moveable pieces bring to mind modern robots; or Venyx, designed by Eugenie Niarchos, who pairs unusual stones, such as sunset chalcedony, with sinuous, fluid lines with a futuristic feel.

Opals, which often look like miniature galaxies unto themselves, are a natural medium for futuristic jewelry, and employed by designers like Bibi van der Velden and Ele Karela.

Just like the mysteries of the galaxy, space-inspired design possibilities are endless for designers.

Karaagacli concluded: “What I aim for are unlimited opportunities, not fear of the unknown.”

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