Some new musically inclined necklaces strike a chord—literally.
By Natalia Rachlin
blacksheepprodigal_leneck1Piano Keys don't typically evoke thoughts of delicate, hand-crafted necklaces laden with intricate sketches, but for jewelry designer Derek Cruz, of Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons, vintage ivory piano keys proved the perfect canvas for his latest collection: a limited-edition line of necklaces made exclusively for BBlessing in New York. Cruz used the keys (all pre-ban and taken from defunct pianos, so no worries about the origins of your ornament) to develop a five-piece collection that truly tells a story:
"After weighing the words "Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons" for some time, their blatant reference to outsiders and men seeking redemption caused a greater alien to rear its head—an only daughter among favored sons. Quiet and stern, she seeks no grandeur. With her are the bees, heralds of our awful stewardship of the world. These are the friends she keeps. Deprived of guidance, our daughter enters a hero's journey..."
Cruz adds that there are five visual chapters in the short story, three are currently available at BBlessing, and the final two are still to come.
Cruz's tale was inspired by a vintage portrait of a little Hungarian girl in a black dress and, of course, bees. A self-proclaimed bee buff (he's a member of a Beekeeper's Association), Cruz was fascinated by the current disappearance of these summertime stingers by the hundreds of thousands. The two characters and their story-line are all depicted on their own key—each one inlayed with ebony and 14k gold, blackened bezel in sterling silver; each hangs from an adjustable blackened sterling chain. Each piece comes wrapped in a beautiful handmade linden wood "book box" (made in the Carpathian mountains, with wood joints only, no nails or glue.
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If you want to see how the story ends, you'll need to head over to BBlessing. But get there quick to become part of this exclusive group of talisman owners: 15 to be exact, 5 designs, only 3 of each. Who knows if you'll score an A sharp or a B flat…but regardless of your note, you'll definitely be in tune.
Derek Cruz of Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons Bendición Collection necklaces, $550 each, and is available at BBlessing, 181 Orchard Street (at Stanton Street); 212-378-8005.
Some new musically inclined necklaces create a buzz—literally.

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