Minnesota Maker Annika Kaplan Relaunches as Annika Jewelry, Embraces Advanced Style
An image from Annika Jewelry's fall 2017 lookbook
Images by Emily Freitas, courtesy Annika Kaplan
Annika Kaplan has been designing and making jewelry for years. The Minneapolis maker uses mostly blackened sterling silver and semi-precious gems, and occasionally gold, leather, and wood, in her ethereal, one-of-a-kind designs, which have popped up everywhere from the Mill City Farmers Market to the Walker Art Center’s Jewelry & Accessories Makers Mart.
Recently, the designer has undergone an evolution, complete with a rebrand (from her full name to simply “Annika Jewelry”), new website (annikafine.com), and a new look, plus a new, companion line of commitment jewelry, Annika Fine.
The relaunch shows the designer taking her handmade work into a new direction, with bold, highly textural pieces inspired by nature and folk traditions. Annika Jewelry expands to include an ever-changing variety of one-of-a-kind gemstone earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and of course, lots of rings, all available in brass, silver, and bronze. The price points are slightly higher than her previous work—mostly in the $100 to $300 range. With Annika Fine, launching later this year, the designer is also offering custom, made-to-order fine jewelry for the first time for couples and individuals.
I recently spoke with the designer about her rebrand and new collection as Annika Jewelry, which debuted this past weekend at annikafine.com.
Can you tell me more about your new direction?
For the last several years I have had visions of jewelry that is more sculptural, textural, and organic than I'd been making. I started sketching here and there, and slowly realized that this work would best realized through carving wax models and casting the pieces using the lost wax casting method. With wax, the jeweler is able to carve voluminous objects, and also has a lot more freedom in terms of textural treatments. Until recently, I have always hand fabricated my work from raw metals. Carving and casting, which I have not done much since school, has opened a door to a different kind of creative output for me, and I have been relishing exploring the new approach to my craft.
What inspired the collection? How have your designs evolved, and what you would say makes this new line different?
While designing this collection, I found myself looking at the way women I admire wear jewelry. For example, I've watched my mom, Joanne, collect her signature pieces over the years. She effortlessly layers chunky pieces in mixed metals and stones, and favors bold jewelry. (My mom also makes a beautiful appearance in the lookbook, which was created in collaboration with Mille visual director, Emily Freitas.) Other style icons like Beatrice Wood and Iris Apfel and the entire Advanced Style movement has also inspired me. I'd like to think my audience for this work is women who have a beloved collection of jewelry, each piece representing a time or a place, worn all together to present an eclectic visual identity.
You're selling the new collection at a slightly higher price point—is this due to some new materials you're working with? If so, what are the materials and how do they differ from those you've used in the past?
I am working in the same materials as ever, offering my new line in sterling silver, bronze, and brass with little pops of gold mixed in. The few stones featured are hand-cut by me, a labor-intensive and satisfying process. The slightly higher price points mostly reflect the physical size of the new pieces, but also take into account the slow process of developing each piece. After spending several years producing high volumes at lower price points, I was ready to slow down. My intention now is to produce fewer, finer items, with the hope that my customers will purchase special pieces that they intend to wear forever.
Can you tell me more about the fine/commitment jewelry line? Is this your first time delving into this realm? Why did you decide to begin designing these kinds of pieces?
I have been making custom engagement rings and wedding bands for some time now. The new line of special occasion and commitment jewelry called Annika Fine, to be released later this year, is a small collection of uniquely textured bands and rings with hand-cut stones such as turquoise, lapis, and jasper. I will incorporate diamonds a bit too, but my intention is to offer a unique alternative to traditional jewelry in the industry.
Shop for Annika Jewelry at annikafine.com and in-person at the following pop-up markets this holiday season:
Walker Jewelry and Accessories Makers Mart: Saturday, Nov. 4 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Walker members mimosa preview from 10-11 a.m.) @ Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-375-7633, walkerart.org
Paikka Holiday Bazaar: Sunday, Nov. 12 from noon-5 p.m. @ Paikka, 550 Vandalia St. #165 (located at back of building), St. Paul, paikkamn.com
American Craft Council's Holiday Craft Hop: Saturday, Dec. 2 from noon-5 p.m. (ACC member and RSP Architects V.I.P hour from 11 a.m.-noon) @ Grain Belt Brewery (American Craft Council HQ), 1224 Marshall St. NE., Ste. 200, Minneapolis, craftcouncil.org