Striking a Chord

BingBangVert by Lisa Stasiulewicz
After a few years of the industry's more-is-more philosophy toward blinding jewels, Anna Sheffield's Bing Bang line of hand-hammered, pared-down pieces is a welcome, wearable shift in talisman trends.
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With the overwhelming return of jewlery and adornment in the last several seasons, aficionados have had their pick of noteworthy new collections. A handful of lines, however, have generated the kind of sustainable buzz that make a bonified collector out of an ordinary jewelry lover.
Bing Bang, a label designed by Anna Sheffield, is one such line. Her trademark, though not hard and fast, seems to be the ongoing study of contradictions; pieces are at once raw and polished, voluminous yet weightless. "I like things a little bit rugged, yet a little bit refined," says Anna. "It's just my personal aesthetic." Each design is crafted by hand and draws heavily on Anna's background in sculpture and blacksmithing. Working exclusively in unadorned metals, both precious and semiprecious, her upbringing in the sparse deserts of New Mexico is evident in the simplified, imperfect shapes and delicate yet durable pieces.
Bing Bang, a name she chose because it sounds like a hammer striking an anvil, originated three years ago in San Francisco, where Anna was studying sculpture at the Academy of Art. She consigned a few pieces to a neighborhood shop and slowly built her business, including adding the "88" line, a collection of gold offerings. She relocated to Williamsburg two years ago, placing her collection in Barneys New York, TG-170, and Steven Alan (admirers can find one of her hand-hewn necklaces prominently showcased in the latest CO-OP catalog). It wasn't long before stylists and other fashion industry players picked up on Bing Bang's original, organic charm. The line is a favorite of editors at Teen Vogue, as well as Kirsten Dunst and Marc Jacobs who used Sheffield's jewelry in his spring 2006 runway show (Jacobs will carry select pieces in his stores, too).
Like many other designers on the fashion radar, this season Anna was inspired by the Victorian era, "I love the workmanship of the pieces of this time period," she says. "There is such a sense of the person that made the object, an inherent quality that can't be defined." She explored the notion of the keepsake with lockets and long, elegantly layered necklaces. She utilizes common and exotic symbols from the era for charms including hearts, tusks, circles, horses, and elephants. The chain necklaces, a collection staple, are stronger this season, and are worn in multiples for a shimmering tiered effect.
BingBangHor
Mourning jewelry from the turn-of-the-century inspired the "88" line, with forged tusk pendants and relinquaries (flattened metal pieces behind glass), all popular totems of the time. In general, "88" is more abstract and classic, featuring hammered sticks, egg bangles, and stack rings in yellow and rose gold. "I see myself as a people's jeweler," Anna says. "I've never really made anything that is terribly expensive, and it's important to me that things are versatile, that they can be worn with jeans or a cocktail dress."
After a few years of the industry's more-is-more philosophy toward blinding jewels, Anna Sheffield's Bing Bang line of hand-hammered, pared-down pieces is a welcome, wearable shift in talisman trends.
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