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Stone’s Throw

Five local jewelers whose work makes a statement

(page 1 of 2)

THE GEM LOVER
LISA COTTEN

LISA COTTEN

This former model and mother of four started making jewelry three years ago when she couldn’t find what she wanted in stores. Now she creates a custom line from her home in Winnetka, choosing gems through vendors in New York and Thailand. “It’s been a complete self-education,” Cotten says. “In some ways it’s been to my benefit, because I don’t have any preconceived ideas about what should go together.” She starts by grouping precious and semiprecious stones in surprising combinations—blue topaz and multicolored tourmaline, for example—then creates detailed blueprints for a master craftsman. Many of her pieces, particularly her bracelet cuffs, have her signature wrap-effect detail, inspired by her grandmother’s midcentury rattan furniture. $900 to $10,000

 

THE NATURALIST
ALISA MILLER

LISA COTTEN

The metalsmith Alisa Miller, 30, finds her inspiration in nature. “I made a present for my mom that resembled honeycombs, and I loved the result, so I started playing with it more,” she says. That first design was three years ago, and now that geometric shape adorns necklaces, rings, and earrings, which are all without what she calls “stones and bling.” A graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, Miller starts with footlong circular tubes, which she cuts into four-millimeter pieces and solders together individually to form her patterns. “Every piece is completely handcrafted,” Miller says. “It’s got my fingerprint all over it.” $65 to $900

 

THE LITHOPHILE
KATIE JOHANSSON
Dollybird Design

LISA COTTEN

This Wicker Park resident, 33, starts every handmade piece with a raw chunk of rock. “I have a really vivid imagination, so I’d like to think that every time I do a piece it’s going to be something I hopefully haven’t done before,” she says. She custom fits each rock with a series of gauge metals and wires, then creates a seam through soldering, all the while cleaning, filing, and grinding the product. “[I’m] building with a bunch of different layers, so it’s a repeated process of firing and cleaning back and forth,” says Johansson, who named her business Dollybird after a 1950s slang term used to refer to an attractive woman. $25 to $400

 

Illustrations: Jordan Domont, Stylist: Megan Lovejoy

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