Implied in the term cabinet of curiosities-also known as awunderkammerthe word used in Renaissance Europe to describe the collections of objects and artefacts that gave rise to the first museums is that the objects on display are rare, eclectic and esoteric.
According to this definition, Cabinet of Curiosities: Vol. 1, the latest jewelry collection from Loren Teetelli, the designer behind Loren Nicole, lives up to expectations. Featuring 13 one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry that incorporate extraordinary objects in rich 22-karat gold settings, the line unites Teetelli’s love for archeology (the Los Angeles-based designer was pursuing a doctorate in the subject before founding her jewelry company in 2016) with his expert gold craftsmanship, including ancient techniques such as granulation, chasing and repoussé.
“It took me a little while to get comfortable with the idea of incorporating antiques into my work,” Teetelli says. JCK. “I had moral issues as an archaeologist – whether I had the right to do that. But I don’t choose ultimate examples that would go into a museum. These are pieces that would probably sit on a desk .
Teetelli began collecting the items in 2018 with the intention of using them in her jewelry one day. Coming from various art dealers, mainly based in London, the pieces come from the ancient world: Egypt, Persia, Rome, Greece; a bronze cross even comes from the land of the Vikings.
The focus of the jewelry – the majority of which are statement necklaces – is unequivocal on artifacts, with the 22k settings designed to serve as pedestals or frames. But don’t make the mistake of assuming goldsmithing was secondary to collecting. Teetelli is committed to working with high-karat gold, which she alloys in her studio in Hermosa Beach, California, for many reasons.
“I love the color,” she says. “I alloy it here from pure gold, with copper and silver in the alloy. One of the main reasons I work with 22 is that it is necessary for most techniques that I do. You need a certain purity in the metal to melt it.
The simplicity of goldsmithing is on display in one of Teetelli’s favorite pieces: the $13,000 Egyptian faience goddess pendant depicting Hathor, the goddess of fertility, beauty, dance and joy , holding the feather of Ma’at, an ostrich plume representing truth. .
The collection starts at $6,500 for a Bronze Age bracelet with gold and diamonds (“I love the look of patinated bronze with high-karat gold,” Teetelli says) and goes up to $63,000 for an ancient Persian bronze arrowhead lariat necklace.
“It took forever to get that arrowhead,” she says. “I bought it in London, but because it was from Iran, special paperwork had to be filed with the State Department before it could be imported. It took almost a year. It’s my favorite piece from the collection.
Currently working on Cabinet of Curiosities: Vol. 2, Teetelli says his earlier reluctance to make jewelry from ancient artifacts and antiques has all but disappeared.
“I’m comfortable because I’ve seen how passionate and interested people are in history,” she says. “I just want people to care about it as much as I do. I want to create that excitement in people.
Top: Ancient Roman bronze lunula loop brooch with original enamel (circa 200 AD) in 22-karat gold pendant with green and blue tourmaline, $8,000
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