Some say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but Texas-based jewelry designer Shelli Hoggarth of Neke Designs knows better. She uses sculpted metals and precious stones such as amethyst, blue topaz and green onyx to make petal-shaped necklaces, stack rings and organically shaped earrings — a girl’s constant companions.
Hoggarth has been meddling with metal since 2006, around the time she was preparing to get married, she says. Without formal training, Hoggarth followed the trial-and-error method to create something special for her wedding day when she couldn’t find anything in store that she liked.
Designer Shelli Hoggarth sculpts every piece from wire using traditional metalsmith techniques, down to the fasteners and clasps.
“Needless to say, that piece of jewelry was not worn at my wedding, but it sparked a new obsession,” she says.
Inspired by nature — and perhaps farm-filled Aledo, a town about 25 miles west of Fort Worth, where she currently resides — Hoggarth sculpts every piece from wire using traditional metalsmith techniques. The gold and silver metals come from New Mexico; the stones are from India.
Perhaps most impressive, unlike most designers, who source their fasteners and clasps, Hoggarth makes everything from the wire, “down to the ear wires and necklace clasps,” she says. Hoggarth recycles too.
“I try to not waste any of the metal,” she says. “I've had it melted down to create whole lines.”
Hoggarth has four different collections — Brilliance, Radiance, Nature and Essentials — and she can create custom jewelry upon request. She says that most of her pieces are one-of-a-kind, so everyone who wears Neke Designs can feel special.
Though Neke Designs pieces sell at retail outlets in Dallas and museums in Fort Worth and South Texas, the easiest way for Austinites to snag a piece of Hoggarth’s dainty jewelry is probably through her Etsy shop. Prices range from $38 to $250.