Flirty Rocks — Check Out These Custom Charles Albert Pieces
While the mammoth sizes and delicious gall of many of Charles Albert‘s latest jewelry pieces evoke the audacious approach to style we’ve come to associate with the ’80s, the usage of raw gemstones as central focal points hint to a more gypsy-esque, mystical, Bohemian take on design. Add to that the glitz of some of these chunky stones, the abundance of Wonder Woman-style cuff bracelets and chunky chain necklaces, and the cheeky playfulness of it all, and you’ve got a collection that borrows from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.
Jewelry designer Robin Basile, the mastermind behind these pieces (along with her boyfriend of 10 years, attorney John Pape), says her club days in New York City have been a major inspiration throughout her career. Since joining forces with Charles and Beth Albert (the founders of the 20-year-old brand Charles Albert) last year, Basile has been bringing an adventurous, fun-loving, risk-taking approach to the company’s designs. “I am obsessed with soul, funk, and disco music from the ’60s and ’70s, and I fantasize about wearing fabulous jewelry on the dance floor of Studio 54 or in the Soul Train line,” Basile says. “When I was in my 20s, I was a major club queen in the SoBe and NYC scenes, and eccentric jewelry was a mandatory part of my nightly wardrobe, so designing dramatic jewelry comes easy for me.”
Infusing jewelry with so much drama without limiting it to a theatrical realm isn’t exactly easy — oftentimes, when designers go for a bold effect, they run the risk of having their pieces look overworked or outright silly. Pumping up the girth of a chain, for example, can take it straight into Mr. T territory, so that the most expensive necklace can wind up looking like it came from the Halloween costume aisle at your local Ricky’s store. It’s the ability to achieve this dramatic effect through decidedly wearable art that has turned designers like John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Nicolas Ghesquiere into avant-garde icons. Fittingly, these are the names Basile cites when she rattles of her list of inspirations.
What I love most about these pieces is their fearlessness. The titanium-treated quartz necklace with the sterling silver motorcycle chain pictured at top, for example, has armor-like heft to it, but the slightly hallucinogenic effect of the rocks gives the piece a retro funk that makes the whole thing work. I love how the titanium-treated quartz clusters are arranged — it’s like a grouping of cays in a tropical ocean, each boasting an individual shape and yet helping to establish a bigger, more discernible formation. Another standout piece is the amber and titanium-treated quartz cuff which, right away, makes me think of Erykah Badu’s eclectic, Boho sense of right — a compliment of the highest order, I might add! From the sleek silver finish of the cuff itself to the creaminess of the amber stones and the ice cube-like clarity of the quartz rocks, the piece looks like it will bestow magical powers on any woman who wears it.
All the pieces are made by hand and available by phone or e-mail only. For a look at more designs, visit CharlesAlbertLookbook.com
Charles Albert Titanium Treated Quartz Necklace With Sterling Silver Chain, $1,500; and Amber and Quartz Cuff, $1,250. To order, call 800.410.1111. Visit CharlesAlbertLookbook.com