Our fashionably hand-tailored special section.
Jewelry Without Labels: Local Jewelers Transcend Gender With Wearable Art
androgynous, or gender neutral, jewelry gaining popularity
With androgynous jewelry, the possibilities are endless for everyone. “In this day and age, kind of anything goes,” said Camille Hempel, a jeweler in the Chippewa Valley area. Androgynous jewelry is simply about self expression and wearing what feels comfortable, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or what’s trending. “The adornment is external to a person, but the effect is internal, too,” said Liz Stingl, founder of Casual Ore Formal.
Hempel started with her jewelry journey when she realized her love of hands-on materials and making things that were personal to her. “When I started out in the beginning, I made things that I wanted to wear,” said Hempel, “and now I’m just so passionate about design that I like to explore what other people like to wear as well.”
She had a storefront in New York for seven years, which helped make her work more specific and personal after having a lot of people ask her about their personal taste.
Stingl started making jewelry when she was 19 years old, and her inspiration comes from many things such as her environment, her material, and stones. “I work to create a cohesive look between the facets and the metal that flow when viewing the jewelry from all angles,” Stingl said. It’s not about creating trendy jewelry, it’s about creating something to adorn an individual body.
In terms of today’s fashion, androgynous jewelry – and even clothing – is all about self-expression and moving toward non-gendered looks. Hempel gave the example of the famous boyfriend jean style of denim. “Women would choose them based on the fact that they are a men’s cut but still have that femininity to them,” she said. At the end of the day, it really is just a piece of material.
Although there are a lot of questions being posed right now, individuals are discovering themselves through items such as jewelry that are not meant for a particular gender. Things may not be viewed as purely black and white – or pink and blue – anymore. “Let’s strip down these preconceived notions that a past society once defined and move forward,” Stingl said.