When Nak Armstrong offers hearts and flowers, it is not just hearts and flowers. They look like captivating miniature mosaics and speak of a creative tapestry of Armstrong’s influences – his travels to Italy, his affinity for Art Deco pieces and his early career in textile design. Although his collection is constantly evolving and he has continually pushed the boundaries in the alluring realms of the imagination, perfecting his craft, I thought it was fitting on Valentine’s Day to offer a glimpse of her most delicate designs which have resulted in some of the most deeply creative blends of multi-gemstone jewelry. Inspired by Roman tile work and the characteristic imperfect beauty of ancient ruins mixed with the precision of the Art Deco style of combining a variety of gemstone sizes in one piece, he created three-dimensional flowers of garden varieties, lush tropical plants and leaves and, more recently, a complex and intriguing collection of hearts.
“I started working on this particular collection about two years ago,” says Armstrong who launched his eponymous label Nak Armstrong in 2011 after shutting down his old company Anthony Nak, which he co-owned with a partner. and served as Creative Director for 12 years. years.
Armstrong’s textile design background, so prevalent in the Anthony Nak line, which evoked the feel of flowing fabrics that moved with the body, continues to inform the Nak Armstrong collection but with an eye towards innovation. new cutting techniques, patterns and patterns of precious stones. This first led to what he calls “Ruffled Hardware,” a collection of gathered and draped rings, hoops and pendants and his Origami collection which includes pieces that take on the tactile appearance of pleats, ribbons and pendants. of folds. Within these collections he creates shapes that combine the movement and fluidity of the fabric by working with wavy and tapered baguettes and other proprietary cuts so that they also result in mosaic patterns. These are designed in total monochromatic hues or in unique vivid gemstones of emeralds, rubies, tourmalines and sapphires.
“While I was designing these textile-based styles, I had also wanted to create something that suggested the magnificent ancient architecture that I saw in Rome, especially the ruins that had been there for centuries. I was amazed at the splendor of the facades and ceilings of the buildings, and how even when they are broken down or faded, they still revealed these amazing patterns from different tile work.
He continues: “As far as I can remember, I have also been drawn to Art Deco, first by architecture, then by jewelry. The mixture of different cuts of gemstones and diamonds that form geometric shapes in other shapes of wide bracelets and other pieces was revolutionary at the time of its conception. I wanted to create something that captures both in concept, without ever being exact in my interpretation.
Armstrong has achieved this sense of surprise and current vibe in all of his collections. He ingeniously created the flowers to take on a more mosaic feel, and the hearts, more decorative and precise in the cuts and the way they fit together. To do this, he created a range of new exclusive cuts and constructions for these two collections. Roses, tulips, peonies, irises and a variety of exotic flowers and leaves include much of the flowers that feature more “pixelated” colors, while the hearts are more of an explosion of vivid hues and blocking out colors. colors.
All of Armstrong’s designs are designed to achieve a three-dimensional effect that is much lighter than the pieces appear.
His first designs for Nak Armstrong were originally set in silver and were also based on tile work, but in more muted or monochrome colors, with his exclusive cuts. Within this collection, he created river necklaces, tennis bracelets, cuffs and hoops that also touched the architecture of duomos in Italy and the facades of buildings in other European cities. To create an easier shopping experience for his customers and a collection with more accessible prices, he removed these pieces from the main collection and decided to create a derivative line which he named Nakard. In this collection he also recently added oxidized silver heart designs with enamel trim around the heart shapes.
“At first this collection of hearts was a test for me: I continually challenge myself to challenge conventional jewelry techniques and come from an intuitive place. The less complex the design, with fewer moving parts, the harder it is to create something fresh and contemporary. Everything came together in cabochon cut hearts contrasting with its characteristic oxidized background with the addition of enameling, which gives an impression of volume and dimension. “I learned that the simplicity of this collection allows me to play with more colors, add more whimsy, and have a lot of fun,” says Armstrong.
What is most appealing to Armstrong customers is that the collections can be worn together – Nak Armstrong floral mosaic earrings pair easily with a Nakard scallop bracelet or cabochon heart necklace. A colorful Art Deco inspired Nak Armstrong heart with half moon and wand shapes can be layered over a Nakard river necklace in a muted tone to allow the heart to stand out or both can be worn in bright colors to create more of a catchy statement.
The self-taught Armstrong creates intriguing breaks from the traditional by circumventing the constraints of fine jewelry and continually experimenting and developing pieces that quickly become collectibles. These are the type of pieces that inspire the enchantment of seeing something new or unique every time you look at a piece, much like when you are among the legendary mosaics and ruins of Rome, always finding a new look. captivating design.