Every so often, we’ll encounter a new jewelry talent through word-of-mouth, instantly connect with the collection and designer, and covet every piece. Thus far in 2015, it’s Tilda Biehn. New Yorker Andrea Lipsky-Karasz created her fine jewelry brand Tilda Biehn as an ode to her grandmother Eva and great-grandmother Tilda, the line’s namesake who was an artist and dancer in Budapest. Both women represent art, grace, and pursuit of creative passions—unifying principles which anchor Andrea’s design and inspiration.
Balancing her time between Detroit and Brooklyn Heights, Andrea handcrafts jewelry that is “a celebration of the adventure and elegance of fin-de-siècle Europe.” Subtle yet powerful details and harmonious shapes accent old-world sophistication and simplicity. Andrea’s pieces possess heirloom-like quality and history alongside modern embellishments. Given the impressive range and consistent vocabulary of the line, Tilda Biehn is perfect to kick off Rising Rockstars, a new feature on The Stone Set recognizing talented and unique emerging jewelry designers with a promising contribution. -Jenna Fain for The Stone Set
How did your life lead you to launch a jewelry line?
My grandmother designed jewelry also. She was making incredible modernist jewelry starting in the fifties. I grew up with her designs which pulled from a mix of modern art and her experiences living all over the world. She left Hungary and raised my mother in Paris and Bolivia and Thailand and Turkey. The list goes on… It gave her the ability to see the connections between good design everywhere. I didn’t know when I was a kid playing around her jewelry bench that I would grow up to do the same. I still use some of her tools when I make new designs.
What’s your brand philosophy and who do you see as your archetypal muse?
I am always trying to create pieces that will stand the test of time. Just as Tilda, my great grandmother, passed down her love of art to her daughter, and through her to my mother, my sister, and myself, I hope that my jewelry is passed down through generations. That gives me something to strive for, both in the designs and in their meticulous construction.
As for a muse, it almost hurts to say. Pina Bausch still inspires me everyday. I think about the Pina Bausch woman—so confident, with an easy glamour and endless appeal. Yet she was also so very vulnerable. She found such beauty in the humble gesture, the eternal lurking beneath the everyday. I can only hope that she would have seen some of the same humor, the same elegance in my own work.
What are your trademark pieces? Which pieces do you personally wear every day?
The Flip Rings have already become a bit iconic. They are so fun to wear and to hold. And the fact that they have a secret—the swiveling face–makes them such a personal item. People tell me that they wear theirs everyday, and so do I! They are based on an ancient Phoenician design. You would have your seal engraved on one side and your talisman on the other. My version is really stripped down so that you can see the beauty of the lines. Over time the surface of the gold face will take on an incredible patina. I hope they will look as beautiful in the future as the Phoenician inspiration does today.
I usually also wear a single Convex Ring as well. I love to catch a glimpse of the row of diamonds when I look down. They almost look as if they are floating. Plus I always have a couple of the drop earrings, usually a mismatched pair. The threader is so comfortable, it’s like wearing air.
What sets you apart from other jewelry designers?
When I start a new design, I’m not thinking about jewelry. I think more in terms of sculpture or of architecture. I always start by playing with forms that I love. There is something monumental about a strong, clear shape. And then I get to play with the scale of it, making the monumental tiny and wearable. I really concentrate on the metal. It’s all about the gleam of the gold, the way it catches the light, the reflection of the curves. I use stones as an accent, not the focus. The focus is always on the gold.
What drives and excites you?
I’m excited by the act of creation. Having my own company gives me so many opportunities to create. It’s not just the jewelry, but everything that surrounds that as well—the lettering, the images, even the hand-stamped boxes. It also gives me a chance to work with other designers and artists. If I didn’t have Tilda Biehn, I would still spend my time in my studio working through ideas in wire and wax and wood and metal.
Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set.