Tura's work caught my eye because of being different. The way she set her stones shows skill and very good craftsmanship and she uses diamond slices in a way that nobody else does. Not having planned this trip to San Francisco, I decided to try my luck and email Tura to see if she was in town and willing to have me hang around her studio with a camera and questions. She couldn't be more welcoming and delightful and told me to come over as I would catch her preparing for her first big trade show, so the studio would be in full swing production.
I was welcomed in the best way, Tura came to the door followed by Flossy, a sweet golden retriever that did her very best to keep me distracted from Tura's awesome studio and beautiful jewelry. Tura's studio is organized by function: in the center is a table where she takes care of the managerial side of the business: updating line sheets, sketching jewelry, jewelry organized by orders to be finished or to be shipped. On one side of the room is her metal workbench, with all the tools, chemicals, torch and metals. Tura fabricates all of her work mainly in 18K and 20K gold and every piece is created from start to finish at her studio. On another side of her space is her stone setting workbench equipped with all the gravers, grs tools and a microscope (yes you read that right!).
Tura started in the jewelry business by apprenticing for goldsmiths in the Bay Area for more than seven years. While working for other jewelers she always wanted to learn more so she took a series of specializations in different schools across the US and one in particular in Belgium that is the reason why she has a stone setting bench and a microscope. She moved to Antwerp for some months to undertake the stone setting course with Alexandre Sidorov, a master stone setter that specializes in micro pave. In 2013 she decided to move into business on her own and her namesake business was started.
As I mentioned before, Tura's work has a design that is immediately recognizable as her own, which is a special attribute to have in a jewelry world that is flooded with so many similar and indistinguishable jewelry. Her work is highly technical and her settings are skillful, borderline ingenious. She strives to work with recycled high carat gold and natural and ethical diamonds, making her business as green as possible and with a smaller footprint. Her use of diamonds, in particular of diamond slices is innovative and most of her pieces are either one of a kind or produced in very small batches.
I'm biased towards having animals in the studio, and as you'll see in the following photos, it's adorable to see Tura with her furry assistant Flossy lying around. The studio is very well organized and you can see that there is some serious hard work in everything that Tura does. Since every piece is fabricated at her studio, creating her pieces is extremely labor intensive. I personally love and have a deep respect for jewelers who are jewelers and stone setters, as the knowledge of doing both things well takes you to a higher skill level. We laugh cause Tura says she loves to set stones in the end of the day, just to have that feeling of finishing pieces and feeling accomplished. She does have an assistant that helps out during the week but the main work is still done by Tura herself.
TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT HER STUDIO / WORK PROCESS / BLOW PIPE mention the old world technique / SHE MAKES ALL THE CHAINS
I really look forward to see the continuing success that Tura will keep accomplishing in the future. She is the exemplar case of being a very talented bench jeweler that created an unique style that is distinct and beautiful. She cares deeply about the sources of her materials and about recycling and it's impressive that for a newcomer to the market that she started her business using high carat gold and diamonds in a very distinctive way. I'm excited to see what the future brings her and to see her style evolve cause she is a very talented jeweler and that will bring her more innovative ideas.
Thanks Tura for a lovely afternoon. And give FLossy a belly rub for me :)
Tura Sungden Jewelry