The newest jewelry collection from Reinstein/Ross Goldsmiths features multicolored cuff links, earrings, and pendants that celebrate American ingenuity and originality. The jewelry’s “gems” are hewn from Fordite, a stone-like material with a fascinating backstory: Prior to the invention of electrostatic painting in the 1970s, cars were hand-sprayed, which meant that large amounts of paint deposited on the walls, pipes, and floors of the paint bays then hardened as the cars were baked at extremely high temperatures. Because the material is baked and hardened dozens of times, it can be cut and polished to create uniquely American “stones and gems” that reveal layers of intense color.
Recognizing the material’s potential, Reinstein/Ross acquired some Fordite from dealers in Michigan and had it specially cut, to be fashioned into jewelry at Reinstein/Ross’s workshop using classic goldsmithing techniques. “Not unlike a tree, you can trace the history and the origins of the materials by ‘reading’ the layers and rings of color,” says Andrew Schloss, a partner at Reinstein/Ross. “Color analysis will tell you whether the particular Fordite specimen was from the ’40s or ’60s, for example. The development of the Fordite collection is all about the discovery of the fabulous in the waste. It is the accidental production of the wonderful.”
Fordite is no longer produced, which ensures that each piece in the jewelry collection is one of a kind and intrinsically linked to America’s automotive history. The limited pieces are available at the Reinstein/Ross store in downtown New York City. (reinsteinross.com)