Mark Davis : A Contemporary Revival

Mark Davis began his career working with golden platinum and was led to work with his signature material: vintage Bakelite, by a series of unexpected circumstances.  Following 9/11, sales of fine jewelry, particularly in the NYC metro area declined and became more challenging to move.  As a result, Barneys NY, who Mark had been working with, asked him to bring something in with a lower price point that would also have more volume; therefore being more appealing in the current market and general atmosphere. During trial and error and research, Mark stumbled across Bakelite. Bakelite was the first completely synthetic manmade plastic and was made pre WWII, serving as a predecessor for petroleum based plastic. It is no longer manufactured and is a modern day vintage material.

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Because Bakelite is such an old material and so far removed from the craftsmen who actually produced the material and were experts on it, Mark had to go through extensive trial and error as well as process changes. In identifying the design and usability capabilities of the material, Mark actually created a process in which the Bakelite has a brilliance and shine superior to Bakelite in its heyday.

This was so successful that Mark primarily works with Bakelite now with gold and platinum on the side.

Through this resourceful and economical material choice, Mark uses Bakelite from recycled and out of use objects such as backgammon pieces, jukeboxes, radios, betting chips, lamps and kitchen utensils.  Inspired by the mechanics of craftsmanship and material choices, it’s no surprise that Mark’s process for creating the pieces is laborious, but ultimately rewarding. The Bakelite pieces are cut as needed, and then reshaped to be symmetrical. They are then tumbled and sanded. The sanded pieces are sanded to perfection and equi-height and then epoxied together and then carved by hand.  The pieces are then set with Bakelite inlay, 18kt gold and semi-precious and precious stones such as pink sapphires, rubies and diamonds.

“Every single piece of jewelry with my name on it has passed through my hands”.

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In an effort to use additional sustainable measures, the wood material that Mark uses for his pieces is sustainable/ recycled as well. The wood for his bangles come from naturally fallen or lighting struck trees in Costa Rica. Additionally, every piece is handmade in Mark’s Greenpoint, Brooklyn studio.

We love the resourcefulness of these pieces and the fantastic craftsmanship: an extremely creative and unique way to revive the past with a contemporary mind ,eye and aesthetic.

aurumeve orange cream mark davis jewelry   aurumeve pink mark davis jewelryaurumeve mark davis banner bAll images courtesy of Mark Davis.  

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