Loren Nicole (Est. 2016) In 2016, when Loren Teetelli established her brand, Loren Nicole, she hoped her background, education, and interests would make the pieces she wanted to design create buzz in the world of jewelry. She got her wish.
In August 2016, the online site, Jewelry Logic by JA NEW YORK wrote about Loren’s presentation at that year’s show saying, “When Loren Teetelli, the designer behind jewelry brand Loren Nicole, stepped before the panel at this past show’s rendition of The Big Pitch, there was an audible gasp from the panelists … what the group was marveling over was the complexity of her craftsmanship … those panelists immediately grasped the enormity of Loren’s design process, … Loren employs ancient jewelry techniques that few metalsmiths use today, probably because, in Loren’s own words, her designs take the form of reality through a process of “patience and precision.”
Loren, a native of New Jersey, grew up on the East Coast and throughout her childhood rode and competed with her horse Lightening and her other horse named Jazz. Her most recent creations incorporate horsehair in the design and demonstrate her continuing love and respect for the noble steed.
Loren began her career in archaeology and received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Vermont in 2012. After completing her degree, she worked as an archaeological lab technician at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. This gave her opportunities to be part of numerous digs in Central and South America. She later served as a conservator for ancient and ethnographic textiles of the Americas, Oceana and Africa Collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also in New York City.
Although Loren intended to pursue a PhD program to advance her academic pursuits, her interests in metalsmithing prevailed. What began as curiosity to better understand objects of the past developed into a passion that eclipsed her academic interests. During the time Loren worked at the Met, she took ancient metalsmithing coursework and special workshops and her skills became more advanced.
She declined a graduate school position at Cambridge University, packed up her belongings and headed to California in 2015 to begin creating jewelry from her Venice Beach-based studio. At first, she produced bespoke pieces for a growing community of collectors, then, in 2016, brought her idea for Loren Nicole to realization and launched her initial collection in the summer of 2016.
In October 2016, the online blog, Gem Gossip noticed her work and wrote, “Her forte: hand crafted pieces (each one created from vision to finished piece all by Loren herself at her Venice, CA studio), high karat gold (she uses mostly 20k and 22k gold) and Greek goddess vibes (granulation and other ancient Greek techniques…”).
Loren creates elegant, comfortable, everyday jewelry for men and women; pieces that easily weave into daily apparel. The designs are meant to evoke the wonders of the ancient world; honoring ancient goldsmiths and using techniques that have been in place for centuries. She works exclusively in high karat yellow gold to inject a feeling of warmth and brightness only accessible through this medium.
Her techniques include using a German style blowpipe torch that allows for precise control of the flame’s heat by the jeweler who regulates how much oxygen (breath) is pushed into the gas flame. Controlling these variations in temperature is critical for successful granulation and other applications of fusing (without the use of solder), that is integral to Loren Nicole collections. Reducing the (oxygen removing) flame also allows for a “torch” polish.
Also used is granulation, a 3500 year old technique, dating back to Ancient Etruria which is most commonly associated with the Ancient Greeks and flourished across the Mediterranean and throughout Asia. Granulation employs wires and granules, gold nano-spheres that are arranged onto the surface of another sheet of metal and fused to the surface without the use of solder resulting in intricate patterns and textures. The method is alloy specific, meaning it will only achieve success in 24k yellow gold and specific alloys of 22K yellow gold and 18K green gold.
One of the designer’s specialties is creating chains. Her 22K and 24k yellow gold chain links are each made by hand, some requiring hammering, and woven together to create different textures and shapes meant to be layered. Each chain style is unique in its texture and movement and can be customized to include pendants or decorative clasps featuring granulation and gemstones.
Loren also works with rock crystal that is cut to her design specifications and sent to a small workshop of master artisans for carving. They translate her pen and ink illustrations into hand carved intaglios. The unity of rock crystal and high karat yellow gold is reminiscent of Ancient Greek artifacts. The carvings are meant to evoke the wonder of the age of discovery focusing on obscure animals of distant and varied geographic regions. Each piece houses a memory of history and curiosity of the world that can be carried and shared by its owner.
Most recently, the brand introduced a line of natural horsehair tassels in 22K Yellow Gold settings. The tassel is removable from earwire and can be worn as a pendant on one of the brand’s leather cords or can be paired with other earwires.
Among the outstanding pieces of the brand’s initial offering, the Hellenes Collection, was a 22k yellow gold Beechnut collar featuring a wide strip of gold with dangling beechnut charms. It also included a selection of dome and leaf rings that featured granulation. A wide Etruscan band offered comfort and style.
In an interview with Gem Hunt, Loren discussed working with gold: “Gold represents all things important as far back as 4500 years ago. I think the specialness of the material is diluted when it’s transformed into lower karat gold alloys. High karat gold is an incredible vibrant color and on top of that it is an amazing medium to work in. Compared to other metals, I find it easier to manipulate … I am able to highlight such techniques as granulation and hand-woven chains that are only possible in 24 and 22 karat yellow gold. These techniques do not use solder; all of the elements are fused together, so it would not even be achievable in 20k.”
While Loren was preparing to introduce the pieces that incorporate horse hair, scenes of horses being trapped during the Creek Fire in early December 2017 horrified her. After the fire engulfed the San Luis Rey Downs training site, most of the surviving horses were moved to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, who saw its equine population swell to over 800.
The horse community joined together to take action stating, “Feed, bedding, blankets and many other everyday supplies are still needed for both human and equine evacuees … donations towards medical bills, housing, and other essential amenities are necessary to help the hurting California horse racing community.”
When Loren thought about the displaced horses, she imagined how scared and traumatized they must have been. The timing of the launch of her tassel collection turned out to be prescient.
While it was not specifically created to give back, she states she is determined to donate 30% of the proceeds either to a Kickstarter campaign, or to the Humane Society of Ventura, also active in helping throughout the recovery process.
Another collection introduced in 2017 and called, Babylon, was inspired by the ancient Ziggurat temple structure of ancient Mesopotamia and complements her first collection that explored patterns formed through liquid metals.
Embedding ancient aesthetics with timeless elegance, Loren Nicole pieces are entirely handcrafted from conception to fruition and fused with powerfully colored gemstones and precious metals.
Loren says she designs for. “… The modern man and woman who have an appreciation for design, craftsmanship and history. He or she is interested in buying jewelry as a piece or art to collect. My client is someone buying a gift for him or herself, something to cherish for years, something that is not about the latest trends. Our jewelry is meant to bring joy, be playful at times and inspire. It is versatile, to be worn with a t-shirt and jeans or an evening gown.”