THE INNOVATIVE JEWELRY OF CHRIS DAVIES
BY SARAH DAVIS
Step into the charming brick façade of the Hudson atelier of Chris Davies and you may find the designer draping a new necklace on a dressmaker’s form. He doesn’t care about the measurement of inches, but rather considers the silhouette and “the way a piece falls against the body,”. He says, “I’m interested in how a piece moves with the wearer.” With a background in both dressmaking and the study of ancient civilizations, Davies came to jewelry with a solid understanding of the historical importance of the artform and a desire to translate the couturier’s bold exploration of technique and form into the symbolic power of the jewel.
The jewelry designed by Davies exhibits a rare fluidity and thoughtful use of color. He may spend months perfectly matching stones or pearls to have the right elements at hand to realize his designs. With the eye of a couturier, he looks not only at the hue and saturation of the metals and gems, but also the subtle patterning and reflectivity of his materials. Davies draws from the exacting traditions of Charles James, Halston, and Christian Dior, as much as from the way Suzanne Belperron used color and hardstone. His jewelry considers the play of light, flexibility, and color as essential elements of a beautiful and wearable creation.
Davies developed a unique technique called “woven granulation.” The technique began as a reimagining of classical granulation, but quickly grew to incorporate more complex aesthetic ideas from lace making and basketry. These jewels take the form of nets of gold and gemstone granules intricately woven and draped around larger gemstone forms encouraging a play of light and movement. They are supple and sensual to the touch; more akin to fabric than traditional jewelry.