Todd Reed jewelry designs are a mesmerizing mix of ancient and modern.
Todd Reed isn’t what you’d expect of the typical jewelry designer. Rather than riding to a Manhattan studio in a town car, he travels to his studio in Boulder, Colorado on his BMW motorcycle. Don’t expect a high-powered business suit either; Reed is happier in a pair of denims and a dark shirt, his mop of curls hanging over his forehead as he hand-sets diamonds into a bracelet that will soon be displayed at Mazzarese Jewelry in Leawood, Kansas.
Even his preferred diamonds are unique: rather than white, round faceted stones, Reed uses raw diamonds in colors ranging from pale pink and deep-brown to grays and black. He believes in the intrinsic beauty of each stone’s natural shape and diverse spectrum of color. The settings are just as unique — faceted or not — rings sometimes feature an oddball orb as the center stone, surrounded by end-to-end cubes of raw diamonds.
Reed’s designs are a mesmerizing mix of ancient and modern; an oval ring on a slender band, for instance, looks like something King Arthur could have presented to Guinevere, or worn on the Red Carpet by a modern-day actress with a similar name.
The self-taught goldsmith — who, before falling in love with jewelry making, crafted leather garments and was an artist and pastry chef — introduced raw, uncut diamonds to contemporary jewelry in 1992. Since then, he’s claimed prestigious awards and has been showcased in a number of books celebrating the industry’s top stars.
And while he oversees nearly 20 artisans in his Boulder workshop — designed with environmentally green elements, as you would imagine — Reed enjoys nothing more than picking up the tools that have been used by goldsmiths for over 100 years. Each piece is hand-forged and fabricated in the shop.
If there’s a signature look to a Todd Reed design, it’s the intentionally rough, jagged bezel edge that captures the raw diamonds. His use of shadows and textures is inspired by the nature that surrounds him; a leaf, a creek bed, the rock striations of the Grand Canyon.
“Todd’s pieces are rustic, romantic and meant for the customer who prefers something unique,” explains Mark Mazzarese. “Along with the pure beauty of his work, we respect the designer’s integrity. Each diamond is ethically mined and he uses recycled gold and other precious metals.”
Mark and Veronica Mazzarese have welcomed Reed to their store several times over the years. The designer must feel at home; the Leawood gallery has a dramatic waterfall feature that surely reminds him of a similar one at his studio back in Boulder.