KONZUK rejects the perception of jewelry as a mere accessory burdened by unnecessary details and overly complicated flourishes. KONZUK jewelry, with its highly personal elements such as a subtle use of color and an innovative use of materials, is faithful to the clean, minimalist aesthetic of contemporary industrial design and architecture. Combining materials like stainless steel, concrete and powder-coated enamel with processes like laser cutting, CNC machining and photo engraving, the KONZUK collection embraces materials and methods that reflect the design-centric philosophy of its wearers. KONZUK crafts each piece as an expression of individual style; a modern design object of strength, durability, color and beauty.
Clean, minimal and modern, KONZUK jewelry fuses unconventional materials like stainless steel and concrete with processes most often reserved for industrial design. Techniques in the KONZUK collections include laser cutting, photo engraving, and diamond-like carbon and powder coating to create a look that goes beyond mere accessory to border on the architectural.
The KONZUK collection includes over 250 rings, bracelets, pendants, earrings and cufflinks available at over 100 stores throughout North America, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. Pieces are also featured in major art gallery and museum shops, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and, recently, London’s Barbican Art Gallery in conjunction with their Le Corbusier exhibit. Based in western Canada, the KONZUK studio opened its doors in 1997. Designs take a less-is-more approach resulting in jewelry that appeals to devotees of a minimal, modern aesthetic. Many of the pieces in the collection are inspired by the designer’s personal observations of architectural forms and notably the work of Donald Judd.
Karen Konzuk aspires to create jewelry that is more wearable architecture than simple accessory. A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Karen earned a BFA with a major in Jewelry Design and a minor in Art History, and then introduced the KONZUK line shortly after graduation.
Although Karen’s formal education focused heavily on working with traditional precious metals, the designer has always shied away from mainstream expectations. Karen began to experiment with stainless steel shortly after completing her studies. While the unorthodox material inspired her, its use required that she retrain herself since standard jewelry making rarely calls for stainless steel. The properties of this metal call for an understanding of unusual tools and manufacturing methods.
Through trial and error, Karen persevered to create a line that was unlike anything her peers and mentors were creating. Her diligence resulted in a collection of pieces that reflected the designer’s keen interest in industrial design and architecture. Through a studied use of clean lines and an unwavering commitment to a minimalist aesthetic, Karen has evolved KONZUK into an internationally renowned modern line of jewelry for the contemporary man and woman.
Karen draws inspiration from some unlikely places. A trip to the Contemporary Art Museum in Montreal led to the Concrete Collection, while a visit to a Chuck Close exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art heavily influenced the design of her Embellished Collection—now carried at MoMA’s design store.
Some of Karen’s notable achievements include select pieces featured at the 2004 RED+WHITE Exhibition at Canada House in London. She has also designed custom pieces for style icon Sir Paul Smith’s flagship stores in Los Angeles and New York. In September 2009, Karen won top honors in Fashion/Jewelry at Western Living’s Designer of the Year event. Perhaps one of her proudest moments came when Karen was chosen as the exclusive designer of her Alma Mater’s alumni ring.