In a world of fast fashion, designer Sharon Chandally Pedrini is a rare breed: a jeweler who extols the virtues of jewelry made with integrity and respect, and an incredibly careful hand.
In the two years since her store opened on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv, the New York City-native has emerged as an important figure in the Israeli jewelry scene. Just this year, she participated in the Fashion Revolution sustainable fashion show, was featured on multiple segments on globally-broadcast i24 News, and her store was recently awarded “Best Luxury Jewelry Design Studio and Boutique” in MEA Market’s 2019 Israeli Business Awards.
Nowhere is the designer’s deep connection to her heritage more evident than her intimate shop, which doubles as a studio and workspace. Many of the pieces featured in the store’s recessed displays feature intricate filigree detail, an ancient wireworking technique made famous by the Jewish silversmiths of Yemen. Sharon’s grandfather and great-uncles were amongst them before emigrating to Israel, and the store even features a small museum, where an impressive collection of traditional pieces made by their hands are on display.
Sharon studied Industrial Design before travelling extensively around the world. She visited places like New Zealand, India, Ghana, Benin and Japan, and this experience awakened a deepening connection to her roots. She soon found herself drawn to metalwork, and when her grandfather’s brothers—both in their 80s at the time—invited her to Israel to learn the craft, she jumped at the chance. Sharon apprenticed with them, and the filigree techniques they passed on formed the foundation of her trademark style.
Sharon vividly remembers how her grandfather would sit on his bed for hours, soldering small pieces of silver with a butane torch over a small table. At his bedside sat a collection of small containers, in which he kept old stones and coins, scraps of silver, and other artifacts he would amass to later integrate into his pieces. His work inspired great awe in Sharon, and she recalls how his pieces seemed like more than just jewelry. For her, they conveyed spiritual meaning alongside their aesthetic appeal. She remains deeply affected by the masterful torch her relatives passed on to her during this time.
With her intimate store as her home base, Sharon is taking strides to ensure the tradition of filigree wirework is carried on, and keeps in step with modern times. Not only does she combine contemporary sensibilities and high karat gold with ages-old techniques, but she also does it as a woman, fearlessly innovating a practice traditionally practiced exclusively by men.
Sharon is also working to elevate the integrity of the art form from the perspective of production, which in many cases suffers from a checkered supply chain. While many consumers are aware of blood diamonds and the importance of understanding where precious stones come from, few are as aware of the mining conditions and practices that affect how fine metals are sourced. By using both Fairmined metals and conflict free stones wherever possible, she challenges herself and other jewelers to make pieces whose origin story is as central to the piece as their aesthetic appeal.
The result of Sharon’s own origin story and unique approach to craft is a body of work that is both exciting and culturally important. Together, Sharon’s pieces walk a fine line between old and new with grace, glamor and a touch of grit, and discriminating customers within Israel and beyond are starting to pay attention.
Dizengoff 242A Tel Aviv
+972 (0) 55.997.6829
Photos Silvia G. Golan / Keith Glassman