Let’s shop contemporary jewelry!
Buying and collecting contemporary jewelry often matches the approach of the artists making it: wearability isn’t necessarily priority number one. An emphasis on form over function tends to prevail, though the majority of contemporary jewelry pieces are wearable. And contemporary collections often center around collecting a specific artist, genre, or material.
The contemporary market is supported on the industry side through temporary shows, museum exhibits, and some very loyal and influential retailers—specialists who often mentor jewelry artists and understand that this category of jewelry is an art form, akin to sculpture and installation.
Here are some, but certainly not all, contemporary jewelry retailers of note in the U.S.
Let’s kick this off on the east coast with Hudson Valley-based Ornamentum Gallery. One of the most well-known and best-regarded galleries, Ornamentum’s roster of jewelry artists is exceptional, and the gallery presents exhibitions throughout the year featuring their stable of artists. Find the work of rising stars and Detroit-based artist Aaron Decker, in addition to the work of living legend David Bielander.
We can’t leave the Hudson area without mentioning Sienna Patti. Owner Sienna Patti has her finger on the pulse of what’s hot in the field, and also offers an online space called “the SHOP” that makes contemporary jewelry more accessible than ever. Find work by some of the field’s most exciting emerging artists, often offering one-of-kind or limited-editions pieces, including Amelia Toelke, Mallory Weston, and Kalkidan Hoex.
Just a short jaunt from NYC is Gallery Loupe in Montclair, New Jersey. The gorgeous space offers a comfortable setting in which to explore their broad offering of contemporary jewelry from artists in all stages of their careers, working in a variety of materials. Find works from the young artists such as Steven KP next to established talents like Thomas Gentille.
Next let’s head to Mora Jewelry in Asheville, N.C., perhaps the best place for would-be collectors to start—it’s home to very wearable works by very collectible artists. And the shop features contemporary jewelry that’s both affordable and accessible, by artists including Laura Wood and Ashley Buchanan.
Heading back up north, we land at Chicago-based Pistachios Contemporary Art Jewelry, a lively gallery that’s a great place to find unique names you can’t find elsewhere—think Mia Kwon and Tanya Crane. This spot, which boasts over 100 international artists on display, was founded by Jessica Armstrong, who travels the world (Germany, Poland, Paris, London, New York, Greece and jewelry shows in Las Vegas, Baltimore and Chicago) looking for the high-quality, innovative work.