Megan Baker, founder of Baker & Black, crafts delicate and distinct statement jewelry by hand in her Brooklyn studio and finishes it with the help of expert gem-setters in New York City’s Diamond District. “From concept to final piece, each design takes about two months,” says Baker, who worked with Doyle & Doyle jewelry house in New York before launching her brand in 2013. Her pieces ($400 to $4,600) are a fascinating fusion of futuristic and chic retro styles; Baker continually draws design inspiration from fine art—from photographer Richard Avedon to 19th-century French painter Félix Vallotton.
In addition to colorful gems like orange sapphires, turquoise, malachite, and amethyst, many pieces in Baker’s repertoire utilize recycled gold, which she sources from a century-old mill in Virginia. “I feel it is everyone’s responsibility to be a responsible consumer and producer,” says Baker. “I like to apply the wilderness dictum ‘leave no trace’ to my production, which is why I used recycled gold.”
Baker’s next collection, Sea Objects, centers on baroque pearls and is due out this fall. She can also create custom pieces. (bakerandblack.com)
Robb Report spoke with Baker about her all-time favorite artist, the vivid gemstone inspiring her now, and her must-have jewelry piece for all occasions.
Several of your designs appear to be inspired by fine art—is there a certain style or time period that you are most inspired by?
Tough to choose but, perhaps, the 1960s and 1970s. I love that era’s fashion and there were so many exciting things happening in the art world: the Land art movement, Fluxus, and Minimalism.
Do you have a favorite artist?
Louise Bourgeois. A couple years ago, I went to a show at Cheim & Read that exclusively featured her suspended sculptures. It solidified her standing as my favorite artist.
What is your favorite gemstone right now?
I am obsessed with tsavorite garnet. I love its vivid shade of green—garnets have great sparkle.
What jewelry piece would you recommend everyone have in their wardrobe?
I think everyone should have a pair of bold drop earrings. They really add pop and polish to a look.