One of our most popular designer lines and loved by the jewelry and fashion insiders, Arik Kastan in the United States wouldn’t be possible without one fierce entrepreneur: Tamar Kelman.
“I immediately fell in love with Arik Kastan’s work and knew I had to find him,” Kelman says, of the first time she saw his jewelry in 2009. Previously, she worked with a variety of Israeli-based jewelry designers, helping them launch their lines in the United States. Arik Kastan’s diamond and gemstone jewelry, handcrafted with vintage-inspired rose and yellow gold, stood out to Kelman as something new and refreshing. She liked that it still featured an old world jewelry technique and look.
Over the past six years, Kastan and Kelman’s business relationship has flourished, due to the success of the line in the United States. While Kastan stays true to his original gold mixtures and handcrafted details, Kelman takes the pulse of fashion trends and helps to infuse the designs with a modern touch.
Speaking on their collaborative process, Kelman says, “It varies a lot. Sometimes we discuss specific elements and sketch designs, other times I give Arik a general theme or idea I want to introduce and he just innately knows what I mean.”
Kelman and Kastan speak regularly about what’s currently happening in their lives and what inspires them. For Kelman, her environment and lifestyle in LA is an important factor. “Life can get hectic, and taking time to enjoy natural beauty is something that’s important to me. Los Angeles is a huge city but has a laid-back vibe with great beaches, hiking spots and lush tree-lined canyon roads where I live. I thought a lot about incorporating floral elements and eclectic color combinations into the collection, paying homage to these traditional motifs of Victorian jewelry. At the same time, Arik was experimenting with an organic look in the form of raw, imperfect gemstones. So we blended our concepts together to create floral designs with gems featuring bright, bohemian color combinations,” she said.
Kelman took note of the appeal of stacking rings, and started styling looks on the line’s Instagram account. An LA native, she began by layering the textural rose gold jewels in a way that worked with her own sense of style, mixing luxury with leather jackets, tees and jeans. The end result was pretty with an edge, a look that captured the attention of jewelry blogger Gem Gossip, known for her “Show Me Your Rings” hashtag.
While Arik Kastan’s styles change based on current inspirations, remarkable gemstones have permanent residency in his jewels. Kelman and Kastan hand-choose the gems together, focusing primarily on those that were prevalent in the Victorian era, staying true to the vintage aesthetic. Rustic diamonds and rose-cut rubies sparkle in the rose gold, while turquoise and sapphires add potent contrast. The iridescent gems: labradorite, moonstone, and opal, are evaluated by a different criteria when chosen for the jewelry. “They have to be magical,” says Kelman.
To add more layering possibilities to the mix, this year, Arik Kastan introduced yellow gold in the United States. It’s a custom blend, and Kelman says “similar to the type of gold you would see in Italian jewelry. It complements green, blue and black stones really well.” Kelman advises collectors to wear the two metals together, rather than exclusively. “Stacking mixed metals always looks great,” she said.
For a woman eager to add Arik Kastan to her own collection, where’s the best place to start? Kelman says “Our labradorite and moonstone 3-stone rings are definitely a ‘must-have.’ I also personally love larger statement rings like the Queen’s Scepter ring in labradorite with sapphires and the Marquise shield ring in turquoise with diamonds. I never leave the house without my watch chain necklace with a large heart padlock. These are my basics. Oh! And the blossom stud earrings. Also necessary.”
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