Smith & Sun is a contemporary jewellery company launched in 2019 by artist Tara Li-An. The inspirations and designs behind these collections have been brewing away in her meninges for many years, like an old skool Pinterest board.
Tara spent her childhood camping by the Pacific and collecting stones in the wildness, learning about nature, magic and folklore with one parent, and trawling gem stores, antique markets, and fashion houses in Southeast Asia, with another. She then spent the next 20 years immersed in the creative industry, forming a strong aesthetic practice and gaining skills in using (almost) every tool (she is a self-proclaimed tool geek and collector. Think, part mad scientist and part artist... ). When you visit her studio in East London it looks slightly like a curiosity shop where you might; get your Tarot cards read, have your motorbike carb tuned, or simply trip over a wild cat. It is a little strange, but we love weird.
So of course, it makes sense that her work draws upon mythologies, mysticism, and magick. Memento Mori, ancient symbols and long lost talismans, are some of the elements that reverberate throughout the collections. Some are subtle pieces you wear every day, and others are statement pieces to be taken out when you need to align all your chakras in one punch - Either way, her designs are primal and her jewellery holds power.
Influenced by the metalwork of ancient civilisations Smith & Sun's pieces are often rugged and patinated - Her DIY aesthetic allows you to see the creator's hand, the hammering and forging - Reminiscent of buried treasure.
Most of the pieces created are one-off's, totally unique - though some pieces are; prototypes (that can be replicated with additional customisation), or small-run editions. There is also the ever-popular bespoke service if you wanna be extra ; )
The jewellery often uses an eclectic assortment of gemstones and crystals. The crystals themselves are chosen and handled with great care, as their energetic qualities are passed on to the new owner. No two pieces are the same - Created with good vibes & powerful intent (authentic and empowering). Before they are sent off to their new homes, they're purified - Methods for this vary per crystal; Water from the White Spring in Glastonbury, full moon/sunlight, or mediations/smudging.
They are all ethical crystals, from artisanal miners. She spends a lot of time (like an obscene amount of time...) sourcing them carefully. Working exclusively with 3 female suppliers who work directly with these family miners. Conditions are checked, no child labour is used, their whole mining practice and is as sustainable as it can be. Tara takes part in Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference yearly, and keeps her keen eye on this field - It is very important to her!
Most of the jewellery is hand-carved, made in bronze, sterling silver, and gold. Vintage elements and other recycled items are also included. (There are several old men on her books, who spend their retirement scouring the beaches and fields with metal detectors looking for broken chains and fragments of jewellery for her). All other metals used is fair trade or 100% recycled. Casting, if it is outsourced, comes from a single London based family run business that uses only 100% recycled content. And if the jewellery has been sand cast in the studio it is still 100% reused metal (mostly brushed up off the studio floor!) Every material is chosen with great consideration to the environment. Smith & Sun are keen to eliminate all chemicals from the jewellery process; already all oxidisation is done naturally by using eggs, the website is as low res/energy efficient as it can be, and we are always looking for new ways to minimise waste (energy or otherwise). Our ethos is to be as environmentally friendly as possible, whilst maintaining kick ass designs. We feel the provenance of our materials is integral to the beauty and value of the pieces and feel it's incredibly important to be low impact business - whilst maintaining a high impact aesthetic.
Parallel narratives are intrinsic to Smith & Sun's creative process. From inspiring her individual collections to forming a brand - Plus Tara enjoys sharing her other passions - The first batch of purchases of a new collection will be posted out with an item that sparked it - A polaroid book of Sylvia Plath's 'The Moon and The Yew Tree', or a vial of essential oils capturing the scent of an imagined journey, from the Earth's Core to Outer Space, a fine art print... These on-going movements will always be shared in some way. The Instagram account hosts lots of thoughts and facts on numerology, astrology, science, plant life... It is all connected. We are all connected.
Please contact us with any questions or requests - really happy to help. Let's make the internet work for us and not the other way around, haha!