The Stone Age

A prominent California architecture and design firm debuts a new line of sculptural jewelry.

Written by Jennie Nunn

For architect Ron Radziner, design principal of California–based firm Marmol Radziner, the idea to launch a jewelry line derived from an unexpected object he found on the beach and wore as a bracelet: a piece of metal. From there, Ron asked one of his metalsmiths in the in-house metal shop to create a slight variation of the bracelet with a dark patina that matched custom hardware in his own home.

Seven years later, the firm’s new Stone collection includes pink topaz, rutilated quartz and Herkimer diamond—all mined in Brazil, Peru, the Himalayas, Arizona, New York and culled in various gem shows in Southern California and Tucson. 

Ron’s wife, Robin Cottle—Marmol Radziner Jewelry’s chief designer and creative director—conceived the Stone Collection by combining a piece of found broken mirror with an existing ring from the firm.

“I saw the beauty of the clean lines of the metal contrasting with the broken, raw edges of the glass fragment,” says Robin of the handcrafted baubles made in the firm’s metalsmith shop in El Segundo. “Because Marmol Radziner Jewelry is not cast like most jewelry pieces, it presented challenges to our method of production on how to attach a stone to the metal band. Our production method is old-fashioned metalsmithing (cutting, torching, hammering and bending sheets of bronze and brass.)”

Next up, the firm is hard at work on making prototypes for pendants with new finds scored at the Tucson Gem Show—including tourmaline, turquoise and chrysocolla (a blue-green copper mineral) for new rings and cuffs.

“I love that our jewelry line is an extension of Marmol Radziner architecture, embracing the close relationship between industrial materials and their natural environment,” adds Robin. “Our vision explores a play on light, proportions and materiality regardless of the scale. The jeweled pieces celebrate the relationship between the craggy, organic qualities of the raw, uncut stone against the linear, machine-aesthetic of the metal band. To me, beauty lies in the juxtaposition between these opposing aesthetics, which feels fresh and modern.”