Illustrations: Jewelry Designer Michael Spirito

Accessories are as integral an element of fashion as apparel, and jewelry is flexible in its ability to be imprinted with a wearer’s personal style. Jewelry designers are modern day alchemists who marry elements of chemistry and art, painstakingly creating beautiful treasures for us to admire and wear. In this second installment of the Emerging Designers Series we talk with award winning jewelry designer Michael Spirito. His jewelry and objects d’art are infused with tribal references and mystical iconography, and are sought after by stylists, editors, models and some of today’s most popular recording artists. Spirito’s fashion-forward style has garnered him a celebrity following, including Beyonce, Jessica Alba, Mary-Kate Olsen and Marie Claire‘s Fashion Director Nina Garcia. His work is perfect for the bold spirit who wants to make a statement and those unafraid to take a fashion risk. Here Spirito shares some insight into his craft, his creative process and his inspirations.

JC Report: How did you discover you had a talent for working with metal and stones?

Michael Spirito: When I was about 10-years-old, I asked my father to show me how to solder two pennies together. Not sure where or why that thought came into my mind…it was very random. After that, I continued twisting and manipulating copper metal with various tools, constantly searching for different ways to meld and form the metals and add interesting textures.

JCR: In your creative process, what comes first: the materials or the design?

MS: The importance of materials and design for me in the creative process is completely 50/50. There are times I sketch an idea and the challenge of how to translate that imagery into a 3-dimensional piece of jewelry is secondary to the aesthetics. Then there are moments when I find a gorgeous stone or strand of stones and begin envisioning how to physically incorporate the materials into a piece with my signature elements.

JCR: What inspires you?

MS: Music has always inspired me most. There is always music playing in my studio. A new band or un-explored band from the past can affect my mood and inspire an entire collection.

JCR: How do you see your signature collection evolving in the future?

MS: My signature collection constantly evolves and changes unpredictably. I love developing new techniques in order to create something I envision. One thing I aim for is to always push myself and continue making pieces that challenge me artistically and technically.

This interview was conducted by Shane Ballard. Click on thumbnail to enlarge image.

Custom made Sterling Silver and Ebony Cuff with Swarovski Crystals and Grey Moonstone. Sterling Silver and Leather Neck Piece with Agate, Green Tourmaline, Labordorite, Fire Opal and Moonstone all by Michael Spirito

All images © Shane Ballard 2010. All rights reserved

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