One of the oldest streets in Colonial City, located in the Santo Domingo region of the Dominican Republic, is Calle Das Lamas.
Walking along this street takes you into an array of historical buildings including forts, museums, and palaces. The Dominican Republic is also the ancestral home of featured jewelry designer Simon Alcantara.
Alcantara’s provocative aesthetic is a hybrid of edgy high fashion with classic sensibilities.
An eclectic range of vivid gemstones that include carnelian, tiger’s eye, and South Sea Pearls is central to his high-end designer jewelry and he chooses sleek, modern outlines to showcase them.
Once a professional ballet dancer, the New York-based Alcantara would also make jewelry in his downtime selling designs to a captive audience of ballerinas.
After a painful injury, however, his dancing career was cut short leaving a massive gap of time to design jewelry. He made the transition with spirited ease.
His jewelry career began to takeoff after collaborations with high-profile fashion designers Oscar de la Renta, Mary McFadden, and J. Mendel. In 2000, he officially launched his distinctive collections, and by 2004 he became a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
His vibrant yet pared down sterling silver curved collar necklaces, cord-wrapped bracelets, double pendant necklaces, and lariat necklaces reflect a broad palette of inspiration, and influences.
Everything from Egypt’s Siwa Oasis, Grace Jones, and the art of Tomoko Konoike, and Alex Grey influence his current collections: Cosmic Samurai, Balance and New World.
“The ethereal, white fringe work in Cosmic Samurai was inspired by an amazing Samurai exhibit I saw in Nagoya, Japan. I was surprised to learn about weaving techniques used to create the armor and the ultimate impression of power that was in it,” says Alcantara.
“I wanted to implement this impression of power into my design vocabulary. I mixed inspirations to create this feeling of a warrior fighting for what is right.
I used very clean, modern shapes in my Balance Collection. I was also thinking of planetary systems and fractal color schemes. The goal was to create pieces that were powerful but inherently feminine.
The New World Collection is based on a series of photographs I took within the last year while in New York, Berlin, Egypt, and Tokyo. I was interested in creating jewelry that took something familiar while also revealing a different aspect or perspective.
My collections always work together from one season to the next, and the women who have been collecting my designs from the beginning are always pleased with the timeless and adaptable sense of my collections.”
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Curved Collar Necklace with Tiger’s Eye and Quartz Drop from Balance Collection
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Fringe Oval Bangle Bracelet from Samurai Collection
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Large Double Pendant Necklace with White Topaz from New World Collection