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Jewelry with a New Twist by Brian Watson

Necklace by Brian Watson

In recent weeks, I have written a number of blog posts or magazine articles about the Museum Store and products therein… and it’s starting to wear on me. Every time I write a post, I have to wander through the display cases, look at the beautiful artisan jewelry, admire the handcrafted products—essentially I have to shop. I’m only human, and clearly impulse control is not my strong suit. Last month when we featured Washi paper jewelry, I ended up buying four pairs of earrings… and five cubebots… and a book.

Necklace by Brian Watson

Necklace by Brian Watson

This month, I just know I’m going to get into trouble, because we are featuring the work of local artist Brian Watson—and I love it! Watson creates jewelry by sculpting sterling silver wire into unique shapes full of twists and bends. He uses additional elements to add interest to the silver design. Materials such as crystals, semiprecious stones, sterling and gold fill beads, and glass from the Czech Republic are scattered throughout each piece. Some are placed with precision and secured into place; others float freely.

Watson has not always been making jewelry. He started his adult life with some time in the service, followed by a short career as a banker. Eventually, he found a creative outlet through his work as a floral designer. He went on to own a floral and gift shop for over two decades.

Watson’s designs were clearly influenced by his years interacting with customers and flowers. “People, like flowers come in many shapes, colors, and sizes,” he wrote. “My jewelry designs have that same concept. We are all equal, but we are not identical.”

Earrings by Brian Watson

Earrings by Brian Watson

This expression, we are all equal, but we are not identical, is a recurring concept in Watson’s work. His pendants and bracelets lack the symmetry you’d expect from a traditional jewelry design, and his earrings are often different shapes entirely.

Assistant Retail Operations Manager of Merchandising Diana Walpole explained the asymmetrical design: “Everybody needs a little balance in their lives. A pair of earring may not match exactly but they are balanced in that they have the same amount of materials in each one.”

Bracelets by Brian Watson

Bracelets by Brian Watson

There is something very appealing about these irregular, shifting designs. They’re pretty, yet imperfect; complex, yet accessible. I encourage everyone to explore Brian Watson’s jewelry line, Balance by Brian. Please. Before I wipe out the entire inventory.

Like what you see? Then don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet artist Brian Watson on Friday, January 31 from noon to 6 p.m. or Saturday, February 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will also be a soap making demonstration by Jane Wheeler of Peighton’s Place Handmade Soap on Saturday, February 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


  1. john.hogshead@perkinswill.com' john hogshead says:

    I recently visited the museum shop at Crystal Bridges and purchased a Brian Watson bracelet. Wife loves it, and wants earrings to ‘match’. How best to exchange emails with photo of bracelet to then make earring selection? Thanks, JohnH

    • Linda DeBerry says:

      Hi John: We’re so glad your wife loves the bracelet! I have forwarded your request to our Museum Store staff and I’m sure they’ll be in touch with you soon. Thanks for visiting Crystal Bridges!

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