Gears, Machinery and Math Inspire Brooklyn-Based WXYZ's Jewelry - NBC New York
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Gears, Machinery and Math Inspire Brooklyn-Based WXYZ's Jewelry



    Philadelphia native Laura Wass was always on the lookout for a profession that would combine her interests in design and math.

    "The first time that I made a ring—planning, sawing, soldering, filing—it was like solving a puzzle," says the designer, who has lived and worked in Brooklyn for the past eight years. "Like in architecture, making jewelry is about planning, designing and constructing form."

    Wass honed her design chops at brands like Giles & Brother and, later, Metal Dynamics, a leading luxury manufacturer, before deciding to strike out on her own.

    Launched for the fall 2012 season, her new label, WXYZ—so named for "the end of the alphabet and the beginning of language"—has served as an outlet for Wass' aesthetic as well as scientific interests.

    "WXYZ is all about using repeated elements to create new forms, which in my view reflects the 'design' of our world," says Wass, whose "pentagon" and "square" flex bangles bear a resemblance to chemical structures. "In biology, architecture, geometry or language ... from nucleotides we get DNA, from DNA we get life, from bricks we get cities, from lines we create space."

    And from Miss Wass we get distinctive, geometric baubles, most of which are fashioned from gold, gunmetal, palladium plates and sterling silver.

    "A defining factor is the fusion of the handmade and the industrially made," Wass explains of her design process. "The crafted and the engineered. These seemingly oppositional forces challenge and inform each other ... the machine is a fundamental inspiration element for WXYZ; the gears, the mechanisms, the automation."

    The "Jax" series, for example, features gear-like metal jacks pressed together in tight formation, while the Hollow Pixel Ring—one of Wass' personal favorites—features a jagged, mechanistic motif.

    Check out the complete lookbook or shop online at