Big Comeback for Costume Jewelry : Designers Take Individual Approaches to Their Art : Yves Kamioner

Yves Kamioner is showing true gemstones set in 18-karat gold. And he designs for men as often as women. "Men like my little pins best," he says, "pins to wear as tie clips or to wear on a pants pocket, a V-neck sweater, a shirt collar," as Kamioner prefers to do.

If his way of wearing his own designs sounds eccentric, consider his way of working. "I design at night by candlelight," he says. "Sometimes I turn on the lawn sprinkler first, so I can hear the water splash against my windows. I love rain." All of this is to create a mood, of course.

He says many men are afraid to wear jewelry. And that women usually buy men their first piece, with the intention of borrowing it on occasion.

If a man buys his own, Kamioner says he usually asks one question first. "He wants to know whether any well-known men wear my things," Kamioner says. "I tell him that a lot of my clients are lawyers who wear my pins to work in court. That makes most men feel more secure."

Kamioner signs each piece, often in the depths of a jagged, trompe l'oeil crack he likes to incorporate into his designs. And he considers his work sculpture. Along with a recent personal appearance at Saks Fifth Avenue, Kamioner shows both his jewelry and the elaborate drawings for his jewelry designs at the Cross Creek Gallery in Malibu.

His best customers are ages 30 to 40, he says, in part because they can afford to indulge his penchant for real gems and precious metal.

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