I saw a lot of fabulous jewelry at Metal & Smith last month, but a few pieces made a lasting impression. Today, we’re going to look at one I loved so much that I decided it needed to have its very own post. I’d like you to meet Julie Lamb’s phenomenal NYC Manhole Cover pendant.
I’ve always been drawn to the random, inanimate details that makes cities unique. If you look at my vacation photos, you’ll see streetlamps, windowsills, bits of graffiti – the minor, ubiquitous details that give a place its identity. I think that’s why Julie Lamb’s NYC manhole cover pendant resonates with me so much.
New York City is a place bursting with landmarks. There are a million and one iconic symbols of the city, which have been used in a million and one different ways.
Immortalizing one of the city’s most pedestrian details – one that the people who live there walk over on a daily basis – feels like such an intimate, genuine way to pay tribute to the everyday beauty of a place that’s so frequently dramatized for commercial consumption.
This piece comes in yellow gold or silver, in a large or a small size, so it’s incredibly versatile. You can style the small one like a charm while the larger comes on a long chain and feels like more of a medallion.
I love asking designers about their inspiration when I find a piece especially interesting. I was expecting Julie to say that her NYC manhole cover pieces were inspired by manhole covers: but actually, it was Time magazine that gave her the idea for the design.
In Julie’s own words:
I grew up in Brooklyn and attended the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan. Commuting an hour and fifteen minutes each way by subway and bus. Manhole covers and subway tokens were daily industrial details (among others like graffiti, garbage, skyscrapers, cement, etc.) that served the city we scurried through.
Seeing that golden manhole cover image [on Time magazine] made me look at this common street detail in a whole new way. Let me cast it in 18K Gold, let me add a few diamonds, let us revere this industrial design by translating it in luxurious materials.
The back of Julie Lamb’s NYC manhole cover pendant really seals the deal for me. This design isn’t your typical “yay, the Big Apple!” souvenir-type of piece. It’s made in the city, by the city, for the city.