Imagine taking the framework and materials from a building or some other structure and embedding it into a fine piece of jewelry. You might think this process would create an end result that looks pretty unattractive, but jewelry designer Lauren Markley makes it anything but.
“I’ve always been inspired by my surroundings,” she says. “There’s a lot of beauty in that industrial look.”
Markley, who takes an unorthodox approach to jewelry design, reveals that most of her pieces are inspired by architecture, which she expresses in her jewelry through the use of textures that resemble concrete or scaffolding that you’d typically see on a building or construction site. Markley’s work involves translating her immediate environment into sculpture first, then finding a way to fashion that sculpture into a wearable piece of jewelry.
A Kansas native, Markley first started beadworking as a hobby around 10 years ago, then moved on to the more advanced techniques of the trade in order to assimilate herself in the jewelry-making business. She took classes on metalsmithing, which involves welding and soldering materials like copper, brass and iron, and applied what she learned from those classes to her jewelry designs.
Markley owns a studio at The Carter Building in downtown Raleigh where she crafts her unconventional, yet stunning, contemporary jewelry. In their final forms, her pieces exhibit rugged and geometric qualities that are eye-catching and unique, and Markley sells her jewelry online and in boutiques and galleries across the country. However you choose to wear Markley’s pieces—enamel post earrings, slate roof necklaces, wooden bangles or metal bracelet cuffs— they’re bound to make a bold statement.