a few necessary components from our collection to come…
Ken Derengowski is an artist based in Madison, WI. He showed two of his sculptures at our 1-Year Anniversary Party and Exhibition last night. Over the past four years, Ken’s work has been largely focused on diamonds, their history, their social and cultural constructs, and the structures of cut diamonds themselves.
We were honored to have the chance to pick his brain about his research, and how that’s translated into his sculptural work. He has explored using other materials (besides diamonds) which represent social conventions that have assigned values. Check out his paper models below using MacDonald’s french fries boxes!
One of the pieces he is exhibiting in our store, Diamond Ring: Ekati, is made out of palladium and costs $5487–the average price of a diamond engagement ring bought in 2010. Ken expressed his interest in diamond mines as reflections of time, energy, and resources. Here are a few photos of some pieces he shared with us this morning, as well as a link to his website.
Bario-Neal jewelry is handcrafted with recycled precious metals, ethically sourced stones, and environmentally conscious practices in Philadelphia. We promote transparency, fair trade initiatives, and the development of third party certification systems for ethical jewelry. Through our research blog, we seek to share information about materials, projects, processes, responsible vendors, and current issues within the jewelry industry. This particular posting is meant to be the first in a series of articles on the history of, and environmental and human rights issues surrounding, the diamond industry. We hope these articles will provide you with an intriguing and helpful resource, whether you are seeking information as you go through the process of purchasing a diamond, or educating yourself on the issues of a stone so highly valued in our culture. Please note: this series is meant to be an overview of a set of vast and highly complex issues. If you are interested reading further on the topics discussed here, please see our list of suggested resources at the end of this posting.
The story of diamonds possesses none of the characteristics of the crystalline gems themselves: it is caliginous, and even sinister in parts. The details of the first diamond discovery in South Africa are hazy–we know that the place of discovery was the Orange River, but was the diamond found in 1866 or 67? As I searched around for the story behind this discovery, I stumbled upon an article in the New Yorker archives from 1956 in which the author, Emily Hahn, interviews a South African historian, whom she calls Mr. Beet. He had actually spoken with Erasmus Stephanus Jacobs, the man who discovered as a child what became known as the first South African diamond.
A New York Times article about Herkimer Diamonds, a type of crystal found in Upstate New York:
Link to article