People wear jewelry for many reasons. We wear watches to keep track of time, wear heirlooms to honor those before us, wear wedding bands as a symbol of devotion and a binding love between two people. We also wear jewelry as personal adornment and/or because it creates emotion.
Art is defined as: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. We buy paintings and sculptures to decorate our homes, so why can’t we buy jewelry to adorn ourselves? Oh, but we can….
I have only been working in the jewelry business for a short time, but one thing I have come to appreciate is that some jewelry designers are true visual artists. Alex Sepkus has become a favorite.
Born in Lithuania, Alex Sepkus did not start out as a jewelry designer. He studied industrial design with the intention of following his father’s footsteps and becoming an architect. He found that architecture limited him creatively so he changed his focus to practical and vocational arts, ultimately getting his graduate degree in jewelry making and design. He arrived in the States in 1988 and was recognized by the Jewelers of America as the winner of its New Designer of the Year Award within the first five years of establishing his business.
Alex describes the intricate detail work in his jewelry as “universal with a focus on basic forms, structures and textures. I stopped making sketches years ago,” he said. “I imagine the piece I want to make in my head, and the hands work by themselves. Sometimes I get surprised at what comes out.”
Alex Sepkus’ pieces are so labor intensive that he had to create his own specialized tools to achieve the textures, which are best noticed under a loupe or microscope. His pieces are so complicated and technically challenging that no one has ever copied his work. An appraisal expert from the fine, estate, and antique jewelry department at Christy’s examined Alex Sepkus’ collections and said: “In 50 years, people will be fighting for these pieces at auction.”