Jewelry design is seldom as avant-garde as the sartorial world, but a rare exception lies in the NYC-based Jules Kim. Her cutting-edge precious metal pieces have made waves with celebrity clients like Rihanna and Beyoncé, and have appeared in high profile films like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Kim takes old metals and stones and turns them into entirely new concepts — and isn't afraid to speak out about the jewelry industry's conservative, underwhelming nature. Her designs challenge the market with an aesthetic that is uniquely her own.
We chatted with Jules about her style inspirations and creative process.
What is your definition of style?
Style is not something you buy, but something you own; style does not come freely to all because it can quite define you. It is defined by yourself and represents who you believe you can be.
Which five pieces of clothing (or jewelry) could you not be without? Why do you hold them so dear?
I create some far-out ideas in fine jewelry and I am my own lab. I trial run every concept to see how it responds to real-life scenarios like working, hailing cabs, getting tipsy… I am currently obsessed with the Bijules Inner Earrings and Median Handlet. The earrings flip inside your ear with pearls and triple diamonds, while the Handlet slithers around your fingers and palm in 18k gold. I hold these objects close because they are proof of my existence and my stab at life. I am proud of the ideas which have manifested!
Where is your favorite place to brainstorm and get inspired?
I love the airplane. I love to sit hovering with ideas and come down and execute them. When I am in transit, ideas are more free form and experiential.
Do you think of your work as art or craftsmanship? How do you balance form and function as a designer?
I consider what I have created with Bijules an art form of considerable craft. It takes more than a deep understanding of skill and materials to accomplish a dream that is driven by risk and incertitude. The balance between form and function includes a confidence that they are created equally. I identity with both form and function and together the two ideals represent the core of what Bijules is.
Who for you is the most inspiring jewelry designer of all time, and why?
JAR. Hands down. He introduced a wealthy sense of humor to a dry industry by creating jewelry pieces with grace and thoughtfulness.
How does your aesthetic reflect your personality?
I am what I wear. My aesthetic defines my point of view and controls my daily life. If someone is wearing something grotesque (Skechers, Uggs, pink jumpsuits, etc.), I have to leave the room.
Who do you design your jewelry for?
I design jewelry for a global crew of outgoing people who seek to defy standards without saying a word.
What has been the most exciting moment in your career so far?
To be honest, every moment is quite a unique one. I look forward to work everyday. I am able to travel to the most beautiful and romantic corners of the world to inspire more reasons to create and stay in business.