Today we are in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies instantly dwarfed by the beauty and majesty of Castle Mountain. The mountain peaks provide a powerful granite silhouette against the backdrop of a crystal clear, cerulean sky. Canada is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Niki Kavakonis.
Sleek, geometric, futuristic. These are just a few of the adjectives I use to describe Kavakonis' designs.
With a Greek, sculptor father, who also studied architecture, and Finnish mother who was highly experienced at both crochet and knitting, it wasn't a huge stretch that Kavakonis' career path would lead to jewelry making.
Kavakonis' childhood included traveling to over 20 countries and visiting countless museums. She studied Art and Architectural History at the University of Toronto before becoming the President of the Metal Arts Guild of Canada in 2002.
Kavakonis views jewelry as miniature sculptures and she approaches her design choices with this concept in mind. The clean lines of one such design, a ring named Tip of the Iceberg, were inspired by a piece of modern architecture, called Fallingwater, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Kavakonis' ring features an uncut, octahedral diamond set, without claws, in 18-karat white gold. Kavakonis set the diamond without claws to create the illusion of the diamond floating in still water, hence the iceberg effect.
Some of Kavakonis' designs, such as the Sumi-e Koi fish necklace, are inspired by Japanese art and symbolism resulting in creations reminiscent of the soft curve of a painter's brush. In Japan, the Koi fish symbolizes strength and determination.
Kavakonis' designs are quietly eclectic yet visually powerful; each possesses a distinct sense of alternately masculine and feminine energy that is at once elegant and somewhat whimsical. There is the Arctic-inspired, angular Ice Floe necklace; the romantic Teardrops from the Sky inspired by separated lovers and featuring a single, Japanese pearl; and the whimsical Good Fortune necklace inspired by American Chinese restaurants.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat White Gold Tip of the Iceberg Ring with Uncut, Octahedral Diamond
Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Sumi-e Koi Fish Pendant Necklace