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Deep In The Woods

Scavenging for jewels.
Κείμενο Maggie Magpie

Photo by Tim Barber.

When photographer Andrea Gentl took on India d’Arthany Adams as her assistant a few years ago, the two found that they shared one of those twins-separated-at-birth peculiarities. As kids, they were both totally obsessed with collecting the little treasures they uncovered in the forests of western Massachusetts, where they both grew up. As India recalls: “We were always in the woods picking up bones, or if our families took us to the beach, we’d be the kids crawling around looking at shells and seaweed.” Although they didn’t know it at the time, the girls’ afternoon Nature Channel expeditions were actually the embryonic stage of Thorn, the jewelry company they now share in New York.

As Thorn, Andrea and India work in silver and 18-karat rose gold. First they use pieces of natural detritus, such as porcupine quills, seaweed, pebbles, and actual thorns to cast molds. Then they pour in hot metal, and poof: dangling shiny stuff for human beings.

“Our jewelry is simple and pretty,” says India, “but some of it is really violent. If I fall asleep wearing my quill necklace, sometimes I get woken up because it’s stabbing me. And I think there is something ornately creepy about our pieces made from casts of squirrel vertebrae.”

The mix of beauty and aggression is what sets Thorn apart from the rich-lady doldrums of diamonds and pearls. Not that society matrons couldn’t pull off a Thorn piece—this stuff looks good dressed down with a T-shirt and jeans, or flossed out with some Gordon Gartrell print gown or whatever the fuck they wear uptown now. And even more importantly, if you’re wearing Thorn and you see someone else with it, you have an excellent excuse to get your crush on. It’s like finding out you went to the same high school or you both like The Birthday Party.