Friday, June 26, 2015

Ancient Inspirations: Atlanta Jeweler Kathy Estes

Bringing past beauty to life...

Antique gilded-silver man's bracelet. (Sumatra, Indonesia)
Since ancient times, people the world over have found creative ways to bedeck themselves. Lacking precious gems or metals, people even found ways to decorate their bodies using natural dyes extracted from plants and insects. The creative drive cannot be suppressed. People will find a way to express themselves often in beautiful ways as the ethnic jewelry shown here indicates. 

All these pieces were created by indigenous people from Africa, Asia and Oceania who had little or no outside inspiration to draw from.  Indeed, these long-gone artisans might be surprised to learn that they serve to inspire modern designers today: Designers like Atlanta jeweler Kathy Estes.

During her years as a travel agent, Kathy searched out ethnic jewelry and artifacts, not quite knowing where the collection would lead. Fate intervened: She now designs fantastic necklaces, earrings and bracelets inspired by those years of travel and the beads and artifacts she found along the way, as well as foreign museums that featured jewelry similar to that shown here.

A selection of gold Ashanti pendants and necklace pieces made by the lost-wax process. (Ghana, Africa)

Copper, old beads and stone discs comprise this statement necklace. (Kathy Estes)

Three antique ivory bracelets from the Upper Nile region of Africa.

Hammered and anodized copper with antique beads. (Kathy Estes)

Fang rigid necklace and cuff bracelet made of hammered brass with incised ornamentation. (Africa)

Antique solid gold bracelet to be worn on the upper arm. Designs reflect the cult of Shiva. (India)

Three necklaces featuring hammered and anodized metal over-laid with copper, glass and stone. (Kathy Estes)
Woman's solid silver torque.(Northern Thailand)