by Jonathan Forgang
A born non-conformist, Tom Binns approaches the jewelry market with an anarchic wit and caustic humor. He certainly is not your average jeweler: He's been know to treat diamonds with remarkable negligence while treating beach glass with great reverence. His unusual pedigree has contributed to this iconoclastic behavior. Born in Belfast, Ireland, Binns embraced the Dada movement and created his own collection of objets trouvés (found objects) while earning his degree in jewelry design from Middlesex Polytechnic. Through a collaboration with Punk Couture pioneers Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, he found his way into the fashion world, working with the duos' World's End project. Experimentation with manmade fibers and "junk" like bent forks and broken spectacles brought him success in Europe, but he emigrated to the U.S. where he found a receptive and equally adventurous audience.
His latest collection takes a new spin on such revered jewelry icons as the string of pearls and the charm bracelet. In his typical style, Binns takes the schoolgirl purity of the charm bracelet and fills it with icons of death and destruction. He pierces the benign heart pendant with a hunting knife. But behind his mischievous deconstruction there is a deep-seated love of jewelry and adornment in fashion. In his own words, "jewelry is always a treasure, and though it may not be made of gold and diamonds, it should still have that sentiment."
Belfast-born jewelry designer Tom Binns takes his penchant for deconstruction to create a new collection of iconic treasures for men and women.