Many of you might remember playing dress up with your mom’s jewelry and accessories as a child. Local Atlanta jewelry designer, Alexandra Cardona, definitely liked her mother’s modern jewelry growing up and played with it all the time. From her love and passion for contemporary design and art, she developed her own jewelry line, Arte 17. During the day, she’s a talented interior designer with extensive years of study and experience in architecture from Bogota, Colombia; but when she’s off the clock you can find her sketching her next creation on a notepad or even a napkin at her dining room table.
For a few years now, the husband and wife team of Alexandra and Carlos Pineda have partnered to create sustainable yet modern jewelry for the bold and unique. Two years ago, when Carlos was in Colombia on a trip, he came across two local artisans who were masters of creating modern jewelry out of resin and wood and immediately connected the dots back to Alexandra’s passion for jewelry paired with her artistic background.
From there, Arte 17 was born, the name is a combination of the Spanish word for "art" and one of the couple's lucky numbers, which also happens to be Carlos's birthday.
Alexandra designs all the jewelry, from the intricate sketches and metric dimensions to selecting the materials and colors that best complement the piece. She then sends the designs on to Marco and Monica in Colombia who she discusses every detail with via video conference.
The couple hand-makes all Arte 17 pieces, each influenced by the vibrant colors and unique shapes of nature. Every piece is guaranteed one-of-a-kind, because a person instead of a machine is manually creating the jewelry by cutting, forming and sanding each work of art.
“It is very important for me to give others and myself the opportunity to wear accessories that are customized to their liking, size and own style and taste,” says Alexandra.
The fine array of earrings, bracelets, pendants and rings made by Arte 17 are handcrafted from reclaimed woods derived from old cabinetry and construction sites in Colombia. To contribute to the local community, the artisans also use native woods to create Arte 17 pieces. Materials are never wasted in their pieces because the craftsmen recycle all acrylic, resin and wood and reuse most of it in other jewelry.
And what’s one of Alexandra’s favorite aspects of her design work? She enjoys the lack of restraints on her art. “When designing jewelry, I have no restrictions in my creative exercise. The only limitation I have is running out of new ideas,” she says.
x Eleni Snider
Photos by Carlos Pineda & Alexandra Cardona