There are a gazillion jewelry makers in Chicago, where it’s difficult to distinguish oneself. But Crystal Wells of local artisan shop Aitho Adornments is something special. While understanding in a deep way the technical challenges of jewelry making, she also brings a unique sculptural sensibility to her craft. Working often from materials such as NuGold and brass, her pyramid and pyrite cube rings, for example, effectively redefine acceptable notions of mass and volume in wearables. Thought of as a mentor to others in the jewelry scene, she works in a bold and daring way to break the mold around the expectations of her own craft and more often than not succeeds spectacularly.
Best of Chicago 2014