Digby & Iona: The Ideal Triangle


I have a policy when it comes to writing profiles. It’s a pretty relaxed policy, if I’m being completely honest, which, why not be completely honest in my writing if nowhere else? Anyway. The policy is that, whenever possible, I like to visit the studios of the artists and craftspeople that I’m writing about. So when I was sent a message about the new line from Digby & Iona—long one of Brooklyn Magazine’s favorite jewelers— called the Ideal Triangle, I jumped at the chance to visit the Digby & Iona studio, meet Aaron Ruff and see the exquisite new line in person.

And I’m so glad I did. In the same way that a photograph of a painting can never capture the tactility, the substance, of the original artwork, the pieces in the Ideal Triangle collection take on a whole new life when seen and touched. Jewelry, after all, is meant to be worn. Context is everything and not only did I get to slide the rings on my fingers, hold an undulating, linked bracelet against my wrist, and pick up the tough yet delicate pyramid studs so that I could feel their weight for myself, I also was able to see the collection arrayed together, and better understand the evolution of the series, piece by piece.

Ruff told me that he is usually inspired by something conceptual, as was the case with his collection based off the War of 1812, but this time, he was playing around with the idea of a simple shape and wound up riffing off the idea of a triangle, manipulating it, multiplying it, so that a pattern grew, changing and developing—fractal-like—into each of the different pieces. The collection is reminiscent of the Sierpiński triangle, which is “a mathematically generated pattern that can be reproducible at any magnification or reduction.” But it is in no way abstract, rather the collection is remarkable for its clarity, the simplicity and beauty in each piece.

I also took the opportunity to look at other Digby & Iona pieces and I was struck by the delicate antlers on the deer in the Hunter and Hunted cufflinks and I was also entranced by a ring with the most unusual stone I had ever seen. The ring—named Ambro—has a yellow gold band etched with a wave pattern and a translucent stone that is dark green at its edges and transforms into a vivid pink center. Ruff told me that it was a watermelon tourmaline, a stone found only in a few places in the world, including Maine, Ruff’s home state. I had never seen anything like it. That’s the thing with a place like Digby & Iona, over and over again you discover things that you’ve never seen before, and feel like you don’t want to look away from ever again.

All of Digby & Iona’s Ideal Triangle Collection is available at their online shop. In addition, Ruff will be at the Pop-Up Flea in Chelsea this weekend, the only show he does all this year.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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