The Sculptural Jewelry of AGMES
by Thomas Sweeney
Photographed by Hanna Tveite
Morgan and Jaclyn Solomon, of the New York–based jewelry brand AGMES, are two sisters with a razor-sharp vision. Season after season, they produce sculptural pieces from precious metals in the most impossibly clean and modern shapes, all while honoring strict standards of sustainability. Each creation, even if it may initially recall the slender silhouettes of Alberto Giacometti or the Cubist still lifes of Florence Henri, has a dateless character, making it a potential heirloom to pass down from mother to daughter. What's more, ease of wear is at the forefront. As Morgan explains, "Our earrings, for one, are so light that you could wear them all day and forget to take them off before bed. The balance between comfort and style is very important to Jaclyn and me."
The AGMES collection, which sees new pieces three times a year, is a synergistic effort between the Solomons which reflects their different backgrounds and experiences. "I think it's really the combination of our skills that makes AGMES what it is," says Morgan. "Jaclyn's main focus is the artistic direction—pulling inspiration for each collection, producing our lookbook shoots—while I focus on developing and refining the collection with our artisans." The sisters are, fortuitously, an aesthetic match when it comes to their tastes in art, and are also bound by a commitment to curbing their environmental footprint. "All our products are made locally in New York City, and we use only recycled materials for our jewelry," says Jaclyn. "Any excess metal is then melted and repurposed for new pieces."
We only design pieces that we feel will stand the test of time, constructing them in materials that will last forever.
The earrings, necklaces, and bracelets in the editorial seen here show the Solomons' affinity for sweeping edges, wavy and circular forms, and two metals—sterling silver and 18-karat vermeil gold. The pebblelike shapes of the "Conie" necklace and bracelet, for example, were inspired by a pair of Kan Yasuda sculptures called The Secret of the Sky, installed in the Benesse House on Japan's Naoshima Island, where the sisters visited last spring. "We played around with wax to hand-sculpt organic forms in the likeness of these sculptures," says Jaclyn. And the sloping-dish silhouette of the "Max" earring? That was influenced by the work of the Bauhaus architect and industrial designer Max Bill. "His sculptures consist mainly of twisted, Möbius-looking shapes, which informed our design," says Morgan.
Despite the global influences that give AGMES its artful edge, one thing that doesn't interest the Solomons is instant worldwide expansion. "In this day and age, so many new businesses are eager to skyrocket to fame overnight, which, unfortunately, can lead to a quick demise," says Morgan. "To us, it's important to progress gradually while staying true to our small-scale foundation." This idea of durability takes root in the sisters' ultimate objective: to produce jewelry that will have a persisting relevance. "We only design pieces that we feel will stand the test of time, constructing them in materials that will last forever," says Jaclyn. "Our mom passed down a lot of beautiful items to us, and we love the concept of AGMES pieces being handed down to the next generation."
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Styling Gabrielle Marcecca
Hair Shane Thomas
Makeup Yacine Diallo at Bridge Artists
Model Othilia Simon at DNA Models