This article, written by Tim McKeough, was originally published in print in the New York Times on February 9, 2012 with the headline: Where the Pearls Sleep.
Credit: Robert Wright for The New York Times
ANDREA PANICO, a jewelry designer, often finds that small-scale treasures grow out of studying larger things. Her company, Pico Design, in Montclair, N.J., makes what she calls “little architecture”: earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings and cuff links inspired by notable buildings and bridges.
“In the beginning, it was Santiago Calatrava, Luis Barragán and Tadao Ando” whose work served as inspiration, said Ms. Panico, 40, who trained as an industrial designer at Pratt and has “always loved architecture.”
Ms. Panico’s product line has since expanded to include pieces inspired by the work of many other architects, including Snohetta and Herzog & de Meuron. She also has a licensed collection developed in partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
But when it comes to sorting and storing all that jewelry, she sometimes finds herself at a loss. For someone who likes “clean, simple things,” she said, “good jewelry boxes are hard to come by.” And it’s a shame, she added, because “if you care about jewelry, it should be stored in something that’s also beautiful.”
The translucent resin Lucky Beetle jar she found at Dinosaur Designs in NoLita would similarly make a fine container for jewelry, she said. “I like the tactile quality of the resin.”
At OK Cigars in SoHo, she admired an affordable solution for storing larger collections: paper-covered cigar boxes for $5 each. “I’d get more than one,” she said. “You could stack these and have a really nice arrangement.”
A few blocks away, at Michele Varian, she found a number of promising options, including a vintage letterpress drawer with multiple compartments that could keep individual pieces separated.
She also liked the store’s ceramic Jack D. Jackalope jewelry holder, which resembles a rabbit with antlers. It’s functional but also fun, Ms. Panico said. “You can hang your rings on the antlers and put necklaces in the tray.”
Online, she found containers that appealed to her architectural interests even more. On the site of the Portuguese architect Rui Grazina, she liked the RG03a jewelry box, a puzzlelike cube with sliding wooden pieces that lock together to hide a precious item.
But at lagarconne.com, she found her favorite: the AC02 Jewel, designed by Saskia Diez. A simple sculptural cylinder, it has stackable walnut trays with various-size compartments for storing all kinds of jewelry. “Of all of them,” she said, “this is the one that combines function and beauty best.”
Clockwise from top left: Belle by Claesson Koivisto Rune, RG03a by Rui Grazina, AC02 Jewelr by Saskia Diaz, Lucky Beetle by Dinosaur Designs.