Veteran jewelry designer Karen Karch and her protégé, Deme Wolfe-Power, just launched a new collection inspired by a cross-cultural mix of Native American and Mexican iconography. Infused with an irreverent, independent spirit, the Karch x Wolfe collaboration is “a sister collection, a secondary line of sorts,” says Karch. “The pieces are every bit as detailed and sophisticated as our main line—just in a different way.”
Landslide Ring with black diamonds in blackened silver, $635
Thinking of herself and her age group, Wolfe-Power pitched the idea to her boss as a way to reach women who loved Karen Karch designs but perhaps could not afford them. Having worked together for three years, their aesthetics were already simpatico.
Both women are from El Paso, Texas, and are inspired by the area’s desert landscape. And a day in the studio frequently involves collaborating on custom pieces or working in tandem to evolve the core collection to the next level.
Together they agreed to use the Karen Karch main line as a starting point, specifically Karch’s signature tiara rings.
3-Point Crown Ring in 10k yellow gold, $225
“The process began with Deme bringing me sketches and mood boards,” explains Karch. “I found strengths within these ideas, and we evolved them together. Deme has an aesthetic that’s a bit off-kilter, where I am about symmetry.”
Love Struck Ring with garnet in blackened silver, $215
“Deme pitched the idea of milagros and that was very inspiring because the Karen Karch collection has always had a focus on amulets,” says Karch. “She brings a youthful perspective, and a dainty scale, but still with that ever important rebelliousness and edge.”
If you’ve followed Karch’s career since the 1990s, then you remember her as one of the original rule-benders, an artist who challenged the industry to redefine the tenets of fine jewelry design long before the new guard started storming the castle with all things rough, raw, and perfectly imperfect. Before #alternativebridal was a thing, there was Push by Karen Karch at 240 Mulberry Street in Nolita—when “Nolita” itself was barely on the map.
Another jeweler of Karch’s standing might regard the talents of her young assistant with disdain or anxiety. But that jeweler would be letting an All About Eve cliché crush her creativity and blind her to exciting opportunities.
“I remember what it was like to be in my twenties and to have that raw energy and a certain naiveté and freshness,” says Karch. “It is deeply gratifying to mentor a talented individual. And when the situation is as perfect as ours, a situation of mutual love and respect, it really becomes a two-way street.
“I feel that even after all these years in the industry that I have a new voice, as if I have experienced a rebirth or a reboot. The evolution [of our work] does not stop with Karch x Wolfe. It’s another expression of our aesthetic and allows growth for the business in general.”
See more Karch x Wolfe pieces below.
Mini Love Struck Milagro and Victory Charm in blackened silver and 10k yellow gold, $325
Mystical Solitaire Ring with rose-cut turquoise in recycled silver, $215
Mystical Solitaire Ring with white coral in recycled silver, $225
Mystical Oval Solitaire Ring with deep blue-black opaque faceted sapphire, $1,450
Mini Chamunda Tag with Mini Mundo Charm in recycled silver and 10k yellow gold, $410
(Top: Mystical Diamond Shape Solitaire Ring with garnet in 14k recycled gold, $850)
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