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Although she studied metalworking in college, Natalie Joy’s school projects weren’t what you’d call an obvious precursor to her linear, negative-space-heavy jewelry. “I was doing intricate miniatures—things like a fawn with wings wearing a tiara, sitting in a circle of mushrooms,” she says. Later, when she moved to Portland, Oregon, to work as a production jeweler, she kept her sort-of-psychedelic vibes going in outlandish, spare-time experiments like “crazy neckpieces that didn’t even have a clasp—so you couldn’t get them over your head.” But then necessity stepped in: “I was too broke to buy jewelry, so I slowly started making more wearable things,” Natalie laughs. “I realized I could still approach them as tiny sculptures. I always consider a how a piece looks from every angle.”
In 2013, Natalie decided to go all-in on her own biz, which required another round of tinkering to create her collection of earrings, pendants, and cuffs big on parallel lines and U-shapes. “I used to cut everything out with a manual saw, which is insane,” she says. “I wanted my lines to be a bit more exacting and my angles to be sharper, so now everything is sliced with high-powered jets of water.” Less labor-intensive, yes—but still crazy beautiful. —liz sheldon
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