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July 31 2014

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On Our Radar: Kathryn Bentley Jewelry

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It’s turning out to be quite the banner summer for a quiet little corner in L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood. Former partners of the go-to eastside destination Vivier and Bentley have both set out on their own—Clare Vivier occupying her new flagship store and Kathryn Bentley converting their 1,000-square-foot former shared space into her own singular venture, Dream Collective. After years spent learning from the likes of jewelers Philip Crangi and Aurora Lopez Mejia, the School of Visual Arts-educated Bentley set out to find an accessible antidote to the inflated price of gold. “When I moved out to L.A. in 2008, it was a different environment, different times ultimately, and the price of gold had shot up. I had to respond and change materials and focus more on design and less on luxury,” she says. Bentley responded with her bridge line, Dream Collective. A refreshing answer to overwrought costume jewelry, the collection is rendered in oxidized brass and hand-mixed colored enamel, using ethnic elements, vibrant African beading, and raw shapes. The new store spotlights these designs, upon which she’s built her name, alongside the Kathryn Bentley fine jewelry collection, which focuses on custom pieces featuring roughly hewn sliced stones and gold. “I have a tendency to go for more unique stones and things with inclusions and imperfections,” she says. “I find it more interesting than working with a perfect stone.”

Bentley’s dedicated to staying consistent to her textured, natural aesthetic and keeping it local when she can. All of her own pieces are made in Los Angeles (most out of the studio space in the back of the store), while the art on the walls and designs from Angelenos like Jesse Kamm and THVM Jeans celebrate regional talent. “I have taken people that I am surrounded with in Los Angeles and collected them. I felt like that name, Dream Collective, was going to end up being a collaborative effort. The artwork, the clothing, they’re all friends, they each have a connection.” The curated mix is a well-conceived effort to further Dream Collective (and Kathryn Bentley) as a brand and destination.

Dream Collective, 1404 Micheltorena, L.A., (323)-660-2000.

Photos: David Scheid (jewelry); Melissa Manning (storefront)

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