“Imagine strolling down the cobbled streets of London or the bustling avenues of the US, and stumbling upon a brick-and-mortar store adorned with the essence of my creations. It’s a space where jewelry doesn’t just sparkle; it tells a story. Every piece, a masterpiece; every gem, a memory; and every design, a journey.

For NYCJW23 the British-Jamaican multi-disciplinary artist Kassandra Lauren Gordon makes her NYC debut with “Adorned Resonance: A British Jamaican Odyssey”. Bella Neyman, co-founder of NYCJW, sat down with Gordon to get to know her better.

Bella Neyman: When did you know you wanted to design jewelry?

Kassandra Lauren Gordon: To be honest I don’t have a set date or a defining moment. I knew I always wanted to do something creative. After a job redundancy over 10 years ago, I wanted to take my mind off things and I did a part- time silversmithing course. I fell in love with the process of making a ring. After that the rest is history.

BN: You are a multi-disciplinary artist- how much does your work in the area of film, fashion, and audio play into your creative process?

KLG: As a multi-disciplinary artist in the realm of fine jewelry, the fusion of film, fashion, and audio is integral to my creative journey. My work isn’t confined within the boundaries of a single medium; it’s an intricate dance between them.

Jewelry serves as the compass, the North Star that guides the narratives I wish to unravel across various mediums. It’s the cornerstone, the genesis of each creative endeavor. Every gem, every design, every piece of jewelry becomes a vessel for storytelling, sparking a cascade of inspiration that extends beyond the confines of metal and stone.

Film is my time capsule, a tool for documenting and preserving the heritage and legacy of each creation. It captures the essence, the emotion, and the intricacies of every piece, ensuring they endure the test of time.

Audio, with its ability to transport the senses to a single point of focus, becomes the heartbeat of my artistic expression. It unites the visual and the auditory, weaving a rich tapestry of sensory experiences that envelop the observer in a world of adornment.

Fashion and jewelry, in my perspective, are not separate entities; they are kindred spirits, both facets of the same elegant narrative. They share the common thread of adornment, and through this unity, they breathe life into the stories I wish to tell.

BN: Tell us about your process when designing jewelry?

KLG: The journey of designing jewelry is a mesmerizing odyssey, one that begins with the spark of conception and ignites the fires of creativity. For me, it all starts with an idea, a whisper of inspiration drawn from my lived experiences, the cultures surrounding me, and the rich heritage I carry within.

Then comes the quest for the perfect gemstones, each one a unique, exquisite soul waiting to be discovered. I dive deep into research, exploring the history, meanings, and characteristics of these precious gems. They are more than just stones; they are the heartbeats of my creations.

As the vision crystallizes, I turn to my moodboard, a collage of imagery and emotion. It’s a kaleidoscope of colors, textures, and themes that encapsulate the essence of the jewelry piece I intend to create.The sketches flow from my mind to paper, a dance of lines and curves that capture the soul of the design. It’s not unusual for a single piece to occupy my thoughts and my workbench for up to a year. It’s a labor of love, an evolution of the initial idea into a tangible form.

But the journey doesn’t end with the final piece; it extends to the Kassandra Gordon community. I eagerly share my creations, seeking feedback, opinions, and the emotions they evoke. Their responses are a vital mirror, helping me fine-tune my work, making tweaks where needed, and ensuring that the jewelry resonates with the souls it adorns.

BN: What is your favorite piece that you’ve designed?

KLG: I feel my favorite piece so far is The Queen Legacy Ring. There is something unique and majestic about it. I feel so powerful when I wear it. I’m starting to create more variations of the ring.

The Queen’s Legacy Ring is a stunning 18ct gold diamond ring with an intersection crossing design and an inverted set oval diamond. The ring is both elegant and versatile, making it perfect for everyday wear or special occasions.

The ring’s unique design is inspired by the strength and resilience of human beings . The intersection crossing design represents the many different roles and identities that women play in their lives. The inverted set oval diamond is a symbol of the resilience of the human spirit, even in the face of challenges.

BN: Where do you want to see your career going?

In the heart of my creative vision lies a dream that stretches far and wide, across oceans and continents. I yearn for my jewelry and art to transcend borders, to be celebrated internationally as more than just adornments but as symbols of creativity and passion.

Imagine strolling down the cobbled streets of London or the bustling avenues of the US, and stumbling upon a brick-and-mortar store adorned with the essence of my creations. It’s a space where jewelry doesn’t just sparkle; it tells a story. Every piece, a masterpiece; every gem, a memory; and every design, a journey.

But this dream goes beyond mere commerce. It’s a desire to influence, to shape, to mold the jewelry culture across the world. I want my work to be a muse for artists, a conversation starter for strangers, and a legacy that echoes through generations.

BN: How much does your Jamaican heritage play into your work?

KLG: Absolutely, my Jamaican heritage and the Rastafarian influence, nurtured by my parents and our visits to Jamaica, have become an intrinsic part of my creative work. It’s not just a facet; it’s the very essence of who I am, and it breathes life into everything I create.

The vibrant rhythms, the kaleidoscope of colors, the melodies of reggae, the wisdom of Rastafarianism – all of these are deeply ingrained in me. There’s no separation between my heritage and my work; they seamlessly blend, forming a unique and powerful fusion that resonates with authenticity.

My art is a beautiful reflection of the harmony between my roots and my present, telling compelling and profound stories.

BN: Your work is infused with symbolism and narratives that reflect the diverse identities and struggles faced by migrants and it serves as a visual representation of the resilience, strength, and interconnectedness of these communities. Can you take us through that? How is this reflected in your work and why is that important to you?

My artistic journey is an exploration of the three fundamental pillars that define my jewelry work DNA: concepts, culture, and connections. These elements converge to create a tapestry of symbolism and narratives that resonate with the diverse identities and struggles faced by migrants, serving as a visual representation of resilience, strength, and interconnectedness within these communities.

Concepts: My work delves into abstract concepts such as identity, heritage, and legacy. I see jewelry as a tangible medium to give form to these intangible ideas. It’s about transforming thoughts and emotions into exquisite pieces that can be worn and cherished. Through my creations, I aim to spark conversations about what it means to belong, to carry one’s history, and to leave a lasting mark.

Culture: Rooted in British Jamaican culture, my work draws deeply from the rich heritage and symbolism of this culture. Each piece is an authentic reflection of the narratives, traditions, and artistry that define this cultural tapestry. The jewelry becomes a bridge that connects the past to the present, carrying with it the stories and symbols that resonate with so many.

Connections: At the heart of my work lies a celebration of connections. I believe that jewelry is a powerful means to connect with loved ones, commemorate special moments, and express one’s individuality. It’s more than just adornment; it’s a tangible link to our personal narratives. Many of my creations tell stories about family, home, and identity, and they become a way for wearers to connect with their own histories and with others who share similar experiences.

This exploration is not just a creative journey; it’s a heartfelt commitment to giving voice to the silent struggles and triumphs of migrant communities. It’s important to me because I believe that art should be a reflection of the world we live in, a catalyst for understanding and empathy. Through my work, I aspire to contribute to a more inclusive and interconnected world, one piece of jewelry at a time.

BN: Who is your style icon (or who would you want to see wear your pieces)? 

KLG: Solange and Tyler The Creator- I just love them!

BN: I’d love to know more about your podcast, Black Creative Podcast. How did it come about? Has there been one interview that has been the most defining?

KLG: The Black Creative Handbook emerged from a place of profound inspiration and purpose. In the tumultuous year of 2020, I found myself compelled to forge a unique space where the voices of working creatives could shine brilliantly. The world was facing unprecedented challenges, but within those struggles, I saw the unfaltering spirit of creativity.

My vision for this podcast was crystal clear: to provide a stage for Black creatives, those whose talents and narratives deserved a spotlight like no other. It was about breaking down the barriers that often seem insurmountable and offering a hand to navigate through the intricacies of the creative world.

This platform is a celebration of resilience, a testament to the indomitable human spirit, and a resounding chorus of excellence. It’s a journey through the artistic process, the heart and soul of what it means to be creative, and a testament to the boundless potential that lies within every artist, regardless of the challenges they face. The Black Creative Handbook is a tribute to the unstoppable force of creativity within the Black community, and a beacon of hope and inspiration for all who tune in. 

I really enjoyed episode 30 with US luxury eyewear brand Vontelle. They were inspirational. They wanted to create quality eyewear and something to last a lifetime and it is stylish! Love how they work hard and how they represent their brand.

BN: What are you looking forward to the most about participating in NYCJW?

KLG: Connecting with creative people and jewelry enthusiasts overseas. The US has given me and my jewelry so much love over the years, I just want to give the love back. I’m very excited to embrace the US jewelry scene.

All images courtesy of Kassandra Lauren Gordon