Nationally known, veteran jewelry designer Todd Reed, was in Oklahoma City this month to promote his line and socialize with fellow designer Valerie Naifeh of Naifeh Fine Jewelery.
Reed is known for his work with reclaimed materials and raw diamonds. His designs have been seen in national magazines including Town & Country, InDesign, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides and Veranda.
He lives and works in Boulder, Colo. The Todd Reed Studio is located at 2015 Pearl St. in Boulder.
Reed recently shared his views on his methods and concepts.
Q: What inspired you to start working with raw diamonds and recycled metals?
A: The thing that most attracts me to raw diamonds is their unique character. I love cut diamonds for the same reason. They all look the same! That is perfect for some things. For other things though, and the freedom to be completely unique and challenge social perception, and open up the realm of possibility in design there is raw, natural and beautiful diamond.
I wanted to open up the realm of possibilities for people. Basically there had been a narrow scope of what diamond jewelry was supposed to look like, we just nudged it open a bit. Definitely the public was receptive to this “new diamond” and in my opinion it did become popular among other designers to use them. We see it in the broadening of the whole category. All jewelry stores now carry some designer/designers using raw or opaque colored diamonds. If you sell diamond jewelry you simply cannot ignore this category.
Q: How are the diamonds ethically mined?
A: I think the ethical responsibility in this industry is difficult to ignore any more. When I started my company, I had certain principles that I had wanted to have at the core. It was not popular to be responsible about sourcing at the time. It was important to me though, so we did it. I definitely applaud all companies who committed and stuck to it in terms of manufacturing, sourcing etc. … The process has gotten somewhat easier probably for jewelers getting into the business and older companies wanting to update their responsibility scope.
Q: What types of recycled materials to you like to work with?
A: I enjoy working with different materials for different reasons. I tend to "go to" gold and diamonds. There is something so special and workable about these materials and my energy and designs go well with. Also I am a fabricator and my team of jewelers are fabricators. My material choices lend to forging and fabricating. The gold and the palladium metals I use are recycled and purchased through a very reputable company.
Q: What is your design philosophy?
A: I'm a bit more abstract about how I look at or through nature. I like the subtle aspects like shadows and textures, the experience is an emotion, energy. So I like to simply be an observer in nature and make things that are influenced by emotion.
Mostly what I do with raw diamonds is to enhance the beauty in what is often taken for granted. Make the ordinary special simply by seeing it as beautiful. This is really a bit like nature; you swoon at a sunset although it's really quite an ordinary experience in nature.
My clients tend to either love diamonds so much that they are looking for something super unique and special that no one else will have, or a client who really does not like diamonds at all but are strangely attracted to the subtle and exquisite nature of these stones. The people who buy my work love design and are genuinely excited about owning a unique piece of art as well as having an original work. All ages buy my pieces because I do not just have one look; I love to design with the client and for the client.
My pieces have a lot of passion in them. Handworked, raw and pretty intense energy. They are all hand-forged and fabricated and you should be able to feel this. They are all using diamonds that were hand-selected by me and processed in such a thoughtful way that I believe the jewelry feels different and ultimately the clients love to wear it and want more.
Q: Do you also work with cut diamonds?
A: Yes, many of my classic designs combine raw and cut diamonds. I love diamonds in all forms and use quite a bit of rose cut and brilliant cut diamonds in my designs.
Q: Is there a message or emotion you hope to convey through your jewelry?
A: Harmony is most important to me. The balance between concepts and emotions. Design and execution of design are extremely important. I try to put a lot of positive energy into my work, I hope that clients can feel it when they wear their piece and are excited to wear my jewelry.
For more information on Todd Reed designs or to see his work, visit Naifeh Fine Jewelry, 9203 N Pennsylvania, visit toddreed.com or call (800) 376-3609.