Cara Ober presents a range of hand-made, wearable art

My fashion aesthetic has been described as “gaudy gramma” by my closest friends and I’m not gonna lie: I love the crazy QVC jewelry my grandmother left me just as much as the contemporary designs my husband (very) occasionally purchases from local fine art jewelers.

The best jewelry makes a statement, enhances your life, and pushes the boundaries of good taste. Below, you will find jewelry by contemporary artists that I have been drooling over for years and others I have only recently discovered.

2 Necklaces

Artist: Coral & Stone
Title & Price, L: Pink Tassel Choker Necklace $210
Title & Price, R: Chevron Bib Necklace $110

Coral & Stone is a jewelry line created in 2012. Jewelry designer Coralie Reiter imbues her love of art, exotic cultures, and bright colors into her designs. These inspirations result in a concoction of styles from the delicate and modern to the bold world traveler, with a touch of luxe. Coralie studied at MICA and graduated with a degree In General Fine Arts. She worked in fine jewelry stores as an assistant designer and sold diamonds and luxury watches. Today she prefers simpler materials and is all about handmade creations. All Coral & Stone jewelry is  handcrafted by Coralie from start to finish in her studio in Los Angeles, CA.

Status: Contact the Artist
Baltimore Connection: MICA Graduate, now based in LA



Artist: Nikki Couppee
Title: Various Earrings
Price: Pairs can range from $85 – $800

Couppee makes earrings, necklaces, and rings of colored and cut stone, faceted plexiglass, shells, wood, diamonds, pearls, brass, gold, silver, and faux silver foil. The artist is an MFA graduate in Jewelry/Metals from Kent State University with a BFA in Jewelry/Metals from the University of Georgia. Her current work includes opulent designs that are reminiscent of royal jewelry but made out of quotidian materials instead of precious gems and metals.

According to the artist, “By highly exaggerating the size and abundance of “gemstones” in my work, I can parody or poke fun at the class issues inherent in fine jewelry. With the use of everyday materials I am able to create jewelry that surpasses in size and extravagance the scope of the royal jewels I so admire, almost to the point of absurdity. Stainless steel, mild steel, Plexiglas, wood, brass and polymer clay are used as substitutes for diamonds, crystal, coral, gold and seed pearls.  I insert an element of decay by allowing the mild steel to rust naturally against the stainless, thus adding a layer of impermanence which challenges the market value of the work and forces one to reflect on its potential changes over time.”

Status: Contact the Artist or Heidi Lowe Gallery for availability.
Baltimore Connection: Lives and works in Oakland, California but is currently exhibiting at Heidi Lowe Gallery in Rehoboth Beach, DE


Joyce J. Scott

Artist: Joyce J. Scott
Title, L: Dance, 2013, neckpiece, woven glass beads, 228.6 x 152.4 x 50.8 mm
Title, R: Holocaust, 2013, neckpiece, woven glass beads, 304.8 x 196.9 mm
Price: Many thousands for her sculptural jewelry. Contact one of Scott’s galleries for specifics.

“I make jewelry to be worn. And if it tells about scary, icky subjects, then so much the better for the person who has the cojones to wear it in public.”

Joyce J. Scott has been called the “Queen of Beadwork,” and is also a sculptor, weaver and writer/ performance artist. She attended the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Instituto Allende, Mexico. Descended from several generations of quilters and craft artists, Scott’s work is informed by her world view of equality and inclusion. Her intricate beadwork takes on social justice issues such as sexism, racial and class struggles, and genocide. In 2000, The Baltimore Museum of Art presented her 30-year retrospective and White Light/White Heat, a collateral show of the Venice Bienale.

Status: Available through representing galleries: Mobilia in Massachusetts and Goya in Baltimore.

Baltimore Connection: Scott was born in Baltimore and currently resides there. She has a BFA from MICA. She is represented in Baltimore by Goya Contemporary.


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Artist: Nikkuu Design
Title: Cord and Bend Series
Price: $55 – $120 plus shipping and handling

The necklaces pictured are part of Nikkuu’s Cord and Bend series, made of fabric cord, aluminum tubing, and industrial rubber. Necklaces lay between collarbone and mid-chest area. Each is an individual piece in a series of versatile minimalist pieces that can be worn in everyday wear and for formal occasions. Nikkuu is a design and build company that represents the raw conceptual designs of Baltimore-based artist and designer Melissa Moore. 

Status: Available
Baltimore Connection: local



Artist: Lauren Schott
Title, L: Fire Queen, 18k yellow gold with rhodolite garnet
Title, R: Cara, 14k yellow gold and diamond ring. The center stone is a .68 carat grey diamond flanked by two brown ½ carat alluvial diamonds
Price: Commissions vary for each piece and range from hundreds to thousands.

Lauren loves the collaborative process of designing jewelry with a client. First, you will discuss the design and lifestyle of the wearer, so that they will enjoy the ring, necklace, bracelet, or earrings. Weight and balance are important considerations. The discussion evolves into images, looking at examples the client has brought and examples of past work, and you will end the process with a drawing or model, so that everyone envisions the finished piece the same way.

The artist believes it is important to use conflict-free diamonds and recycles metal and stones whenever possible. She will melt and alloy the client’s gold to achieve the desired color. If the client wants their grandfather’s gold in their ring, she can do that. Working this way is both economical and contributes to the sentimental value of the finished piece.

Status: Contact the artist to discuss
Baltimore Connection: local


Betty Cooke

Name: Betty Cooke
Title: Left: Various Silver Brooches, Top Right: 14 kt yellow gold necklace, Bottom Right: Sterling Silver and Silver Wire Necklace – All hand-fabricated
Price Range: $150 – thousands

Betty Cooke is a seminal figure in American Modernist studio jewelry. Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1924, she has been designing and creating one-of-a-kind works and multiples since the 1940s, and continues to do so today. Cooke’s timeless forms and distinctive visual vocabulary merging architectural simplicity, geometry, logical proportion, and aesthetic clarity have earned her a prominent place within the canon of design history among influential figures such as Alexander Calder, Harry Bertoia, Margaret De Patta, Paul Lobel, and Ed Wiener.

Cooke and her husband, Bill Steinmetz, founded The Store LTD, an iconic and long running, handmade design store that carries Cooke jewelry as well as items of functional beauty.

Status: A range of designs is available at The Store Ltd in Cross Keys
Baltimore Connection: Cooke is based in Baltimore and attended MICA in 1942 and graduated in 1946. Check out Betty’s work in Dedicated, an exhibit with her husband William Steinmetz, up at MICA’s Decker Gallery through June 22, 2014.



Artist: Rebecca Meyers
Title: Seed Pod Necklace and Earrings (24K gold on oxidized silver, diamonds)
Price: $3,400.00 Necklace / $2,100.00 Earrings 

Meyers has been designing and fabricating custom jewelry for over twenty years. Her jewelry echoes a passion for her garden and the allure of the natural world. Most of Meyers’ pieces start with a casting and have many fabrication steps thereafter. She uses high karat gold, platinum and oxidized silver, and often feature natural stones to highlight their innate beauty and flaws.

Status: Available
Baltimore Connection: Based in Baltimore

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Artist: Shana Kroiz
Title: From the Sculptural Bracelets Series, Sterling Silver with Gold
Price: Hundreds to Thousands

About: Shana served as the Special Events and Workshop Coordinator of the Maryland Institute College of Art Jewelry Center, which she founded in 1992, and where she worked as an instructor and studio artist until 2014. She is now a founding member of the brand new Baltimore Jewelry Center.

Status: Contact the artist
Baltimore Connection: Based in Baltimore



Artist: Ted Noten
Title: Chew Your Own Brooch
Price: Not Available
Materials: Chewed gum, cast in gold, bronze, or silver, dimensions vary

Ted Noten has produced a project called Chew Your Own Brooch (1998) in which he provides you with a chewing kit. You chew your gum, return it to him and get back a replica brooch cast in sliver or gold – a small sculpture fashioned by your mouth. Noten has given the chewer a creative influence on the end product and the anxiety of being an artist for a few minutes, tapping into the creative child within us and poking fun at our silliness.

Status: Currently Sold Out (but too awesome to leave out)
Baltimore Connection: Based in NY


2 red neclaces

Artist: Michal Lando
Title: Ovulo Necklace Red
Price: $225
Materials: Nylon mesh, sterling silver, earth magnet.
Lengths: 62cm, 69cm
. Colors: Blue, Red, Grey, Green

Lando is a New York based artist with roots in Israel and Europe. She began her jewelry line after falling in love with nylon mesh, “a supple, dramatic and incredibly lightweight material that holds endless possibilities.” Her interest in jewelry expanded and she began studying silversmithing. Lando currently makes jewelry out of nylon mesh and silver, and a combination of the two. All pieces are handmade and many of them are one of a kind.

This particular piece features two strands of double nylon mesh, connected by a handmade sterling silver magnetic button clasp. The textured clasp hangs at the center of this necklace, not in the back, making it the centerpiece! Very lightweight. 
Available in two lengths and in Dark Blue, Bright Blue, Turquoise or Gray.

Status: Available
Baltimore Connection: Based in NY 


* Please note, this article is a collection of information from a variety of sources including the artist’s websites. Cara Ober edited this material, but it is a mixture of original writing and borrowed texts.