Artist Jane Cooper Hong Harnesses the Beauty of Nature in Her Jewelry Designs
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
"DESERT AGLOW" pendant of Guadalupe Poppy Jasper with lizard cut-out; Argentium silver base with 14Kt. gold accents. $285 (chain not included)
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Artist Name: Jane Cooper Hong
Town: Elgin, IL
If you love the natural beauty of semi-precious stones and the stories behind them, you need to meet jewelry designer, Jane Cooper Hong. Her precise and colorful work features nature in all its robust glory. And although Mother Nature herself is quite the artist, so too is Jane. A Marketing Guru by day and silversmith by night, Jane learned how to cut, shape, hammer, cast, solder and transform sheet metal along with wire into jewelry at Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, IL, where she is also a board member. Her work was recently featured in their Uncommon Threads 2020 show.
Jane may not have a degree in geology, but she definitely knows her rocks. From Poppy Jasper which is no longer mined to Red Creek Jasper and petrified wood, working with the stones, she says, transports her to warm, calm, happy places. Over the years, she has vetted highly reliable and professional lapidary resources providing her with quality stones already cut and polished.
“Some of the stones I get from all over the world are just so incredible – it’s like a geography lesson,” Jane says. “I use opals from Australia, ammolite from Canada, petrified wood from Arizona, Laguna lace agate from Mexico, to name just a few. When I look at each one, I see the jewelry to be the frame or an extension of the beauty and complexity already there.”
Artist Inspiration: “Always starts with the stone,” she says. And the next question she poses to herself is, “What can I do to showcase this?” Jane is especially thrilled when she discovers stones that may have an animal or a scene hiding inside.
Her “Serengeti” series features exotic animals actually cut-out in the metal showcasing the stone behind including zebras, elephants, giraffes, and even a rhino – now in the works. Creating such tiny animals in the metal is a labor of love demanding many steps including using tiny drills and hand saws.
With so many steps involved in making just one piece of jewelry, a problem along the way can easily happen. Jane notes: “The hardest thing is actually soldering – that’s when the most can go wrong if you accidentally melt a wire or bezel, but hopefully the piece can still be salvaged despite any mishaps that might occur.”
Art Activities: Pre-Covid: Jane volunteered at art fairs in St. Charles and Geneva; created marketing materials for the Fox Valley Arts Ramble; involved with the Norris Cultural Arts Center and sells her work primarily at Fine Line in St. Charles, IL
Visit Jane’s gallery on her website: https://www.jenoriginal.com
Scroll down for more examples of Jane's work...
"Carnevale" -- Agate & Mexican Fire Opal necklace $295; pendant is tarnish resistant Argentium silver
Tibetan Turquoise pendants with opal bead set in sterling and Argentium silver findings and chain. SOLD
Blue Forest Petrified Wood pendant set in sterling silver; SOLD
From the Serengeti collection; SOLD; Dendritic opal necklace and pendant
PENDANT ON HANDBEADED NECKLACE $95 --Glowing fire agate is suspended from a hand-beaded necklace of carnelian and fire agate chip beads along with freshwater pearls.
BRACELET $250: Brecciated Mookaite Jasper Cabochon mounted in Argentium silver; brecciated describes a rock formed from breccia or angled fragments of older rock melded together.