September 29 2010
Mark C O’Flaherty
New York City jeweller Kim Fraczek creates arresting, organic-looking, hand-blown glass pieces from her one-woman studio in an old knitting factory in Brooklyn. Her work conjures up images of flowers, horns, or wildly coloured fluid beautified through a microscope.
Fraczek first worked with glass as a sculptor, but honed her work towards more delicate, wearable pieces, frequently filled with Swarovski crystals but alternatively with sapphires and diamonds. She describes them as “extreme eye candy inspired by nature”. Each piece is unique, from a simple pair of icicle-drop earrings to a one-off, offbeat, sculptural glass tango shoe (tango, as well as glass, is another of her obsessions).
The majority of Fraczek’s work begins with the concept of a pure glass vessel, or cell, which can be adapted according to its contents: elongated for precious stones, or more rounded for crystals; prices for the latter start at $1,600 for a necklace and $2,500 for earrings, and go up according to the gems used. (First picture: 13 Moons necklace, $95. Second picture: ruby-filled pod earrings on 18ct gold wire, $2,400.)
She has recently started creating ornamental hand-blown baby rattles (from $250), filled with a newborn’s birth stone, custom engraved with their name and birth date – “for the parents, not for the baby to play with, of course,” she says. “I recently made one as a gift for some friends, filled with rubies.” And they are very special pieces. (Third picture: baby rattle with tourmaline, $400.)
Fraczek creates exquisitely personal jewellery – she recently fashioned the stone for an engagement ring from a particularly rare Ecuadorian mineral that her clients had fallen in love with, and has filled her ornately curled capsules with fragments of sari material and ribbon, which were sentimental to another couple.
“The most sacred piece I made was a pendant containing a small amount of the ashes of one woman’s grandfather,” she says. “She wanted to have it close to her heart at all times.” With Kim Fraczek, anything is possible and everything is precious.