Rapaport Magazine

Designer Lines

By Amber Michelle
From firefighter to geologist-turned-mine-owner to jewelry designer,
Brian Cook, owner of Nature’s Geometry, based in Tucson, Arizona, and Bahia, Brazil, recently won the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Fashion Forward Spectrum Award for his Wheel of Light numinous pendant. Cook made his first trip to Brazil when he was 18, right after meeting his wife, Kendra — who is Brazilian — when they were in high school. Five years later, while he was studying geology at Sonoma State University in California, and traveling to Brazil, he began bringing mineral specimens and gemstones back to the U.S. to sell. In Brazil, Cook became fascinated with Paraiba tourmaline, which he came across in 1988, as the original Pariaba mine was being discovered. He was one of the first gem dealers to bring Paraiba tourmaline to market. Cook currently owns a rutile quartz mine in Bahia. Through this mine, he created an initiative to develop a model for responsibly sourced stones, which can be replicated for other artisanal small-scale miners anywhere in the world. He introduced the initiative during the Jewelry Industry Summit held in New York City in March 2016. In addition to designing jewelry, Cook continues to work as a consultant in mine exploration and development.  

How did you get the idea for the Wheel of Light design?
I began experimenting with carving quartz, then drilling a chamber in the quartz and putting rough gem Paraiba tourmaline in the chamber to create amulet pendants. I wanted people to have access to the material in a way that was less expensive. In my mind, Paraiba tourmaline was the most magical stone I had ever encountered. It has a color and energy I had never experienced before. After many years of experimenting with light, color and amplification through the quartz, one dark and stormy winter night while living in California, the image of the Wheel of Light appeared in my mind. When I created the first piece and looked at it, the effect was better than what I had imagined.

What were the challenges in fabricating the Wheel of Light?
The challenges were the precision cutting, polishing and sealing of the chambers. The quality of the rough used is also important. I like high-quality elements, which is why I use 24-karat gold and fine silver to mount the piece. Previously, all of the pieces have been one-offs, but we are now creating a brand called Quore jewelry using 18-karat gold that will be handmade in Los Angeles.

You won the Spectrum Fashion Forward Award for a multicolor Wheel of Light piece. What gives this piece its fashion appeal?
It’s innovative and the impact when you see it in person is mind-blowing. It’s intriguing and it pulls you in. It appeals to a youthful attitude and I’m excited by that attitude. Another designer described it as “psychedelic.” It has a mystical, magical feeling that conjures up a vision of Middle-earth. In fashion, there is a lot of interest in finding a story and meaning in what is being worn and this piece has a lot to say.

How did you become a jewelry designer?

Working with stones and being a lapidary artist, it was natural that I began creating with the stones. I wanted to put the stones into something that comes to life. I find it very rewarding to design. It is always satisfying to create something beautiful and powerful and then pass it on to the next person.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - May 2016. To subscribe click here.

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