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April 29, 2013

Spotlight: Juan Carlos Obando

Tall Saw Blade Cuff
Photo Credit: Mor Weizman

Editors' Notes

Tall Saw Blade Cuff, $455
Silver Transformer Bracelet
Photo Credit: Mor Weizman
Silver Medium & Tall Saw Blade Rings
Photo Credit: Mor Weizman
A look from the Spring 2013 Collection
Photo Credit: Mor Weizman
Juan Carlos Obando Jewelry
Photo Credit: Mor Weizman
Juan Carlos Obando

Editors' Notes

Juan Carlos Obando attends the Wear LACMA Spring Launch.

L.A.-based designer Juan Carlos Obando thought there was a missing link in his six-year-old eponymous fashion line. “The collection got to a point where it became more and more defined and I was constantly wondering, ‘What jewelry can she wear with this?'”

With that burning question, Obando, affectionately known as JCO, began imagining accessories inspired by his clothing creations. “The look and the jewelry really manifest each other, the two of them communicate a single story,” says Obando.

His self-described “spontaneous” and “nonchalant” jewelry line pays homage to his Colombian roots and the idea of señoritas. Obando tells us, “I imagine that they would have a super chunky necklace from Europe that their grandma wore from years ago and they would just put it on. It’s the idea of very big jewelry that I use the shape of but I’ve stripped the precious stones.” And that’s also what makes his pieces so affordable. While the entry price point for his ready-to-wear pieces is $1,100, his jewelry begins at $200.

JCO incorporates industrial pieces and vintage 60s and 70s elements into his line to create raw, everyday jewelry that looks good even after it’s been scratched up. “My idea was to figure out a way to draft things you can find in your local hardware store by twisting them and turning them into jewelry.” His unisex Saw Blade rings are a perfect example of this: “If you were to open them and make them flat, it’s a saw blade,” he says.

His heavy metal jewelry is all made of brass, but can be custom ordered in silver, gold and other metals. Unlike pieces that are full of gems, JCO says of his line “I have to think through the shapes because I can’t hide behind precious stones and just say it’s valuable.” And, with these highly polished pieces, there’s a definite sense of strength and power, a feeling JCO wants his clients to experience when slipping on one of his rings or necklaces.

He’s already gaining notoriety for his new venture; the second annual Wear LACMA line of accessories launched last week featuring his museum-inspired jewelry. Among his pieces for the collection is a silver pendant influenced by Willem Danielsz van Tetrode’s Mercury sculpture, housed in LACMA’s European art collection.

For more, see the May issue of C.

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