Unearth the timeless wonder of JORGE ADELER’s jewelry.
Jewelry designer Jorge Adeler loves a good adventure. That intrepid spirit is what defines the native Argentinian’s line of custom jewelry for men and women. Whether it’s the mountainsides of South America or the oceans of the South Pacific, Adeler seeks inspiration in the colors and shapes of nature and gives them prominence in his designs. History, in particular the ancient coins he mounts as rings, cuff links and tie tacks, is the muse for his men’s collection. For the past 40 years, the shop and studio he runs with his two daughters in upscale Great Falls, Virginia, have attracted the DC elite. “But men here don’t want to be perceived as above the average constituent,” he says. They want something that’s subtle yet dignified. And what better symbol for that confidence than one of his Julius Caesar, samurai or Alexander the Great coin rings?—BOB MORRIS
“Besides having meaning and authenticity, a coin has to be beautiful,” he says. “The image needs to be in high relief, and the surface should not be scratched.”
“Basically, the coin or mineral tells you what to do,” Adeler explains from the desk where he sketches his designs. Some pieces he envisions with simple mountings and hammered gold, which has a more natural, rough-hewn texture. For others, polished gold accentuates the rugged nature of a stone.
“Good design is about minute details all aligned properly,” says Valentina Adeler, Jorge’s eldest daughter. She’s in the atelier attached to the store, where a dozen artisans from around the world grind, polish, mold, fire and hammer, inspecting a tiny fox sculpted in wax that had to be refashioned with a longer tail. It will provide the shape for a vulcanized rubber mold into which molten 18-karat gold will eventually be poured, emerging later as a cuff link.
“Sustainability matters to us,” Adeler says. That’s why the family regularly collects all the remnant gold dust and particles from the workstations and floor of the atelier. They are then recycled and resurrected as gold pellets to be mixed into new alloys of red, green and white gold.
“I like to create jewelry with a message that inspires a deeper conversation,” Adeler says. The antique coins he acquires from auction houses in Europe have been collected from fabled sites, including long-forgotten shipwrecks and ancient battlefields, where they were minted on the spot to pay Roman soldiers. Meteorite fragments he’s worked into his designs are from a 1947 strike in Russia. “It’s like wearing a piece of space,” he says.
Photographs by Peter Stanglmayr