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Tara Sugden

Tura Sugden is a classically trained fine artist with a BFA in Sculpture, received in 2008. She continued her education after graduating by apprenticing with goldsmiths in the Bay Area for seven years. She has studied advanced techniques in Belgium, Maine, Tennessee, Kansas, and California. She grew up in San Jose, CA and currently lives in San Francisco.

The Collection

Tura Sugden began building the collection in 2013, focusing on intricate, unique, and sophisticated settings and compositions that she developed in her San Francisco atelier. The collection is unfolding rapidly, fueled by a dedication and commitment to deeply traditional technique and contemporary design. Specializing in both small-batch production and one-of-a-kind pieces, Tura Sugden uses recycled 18k gold, natural and ethical diamonds, and a distinctive approach to stone setting. Feminine and airy, the work has a quiet color palette and detailed construction that is inspired by light, shadow, and the changing seasons.

"I collect inspiration. I find it in the changing seasons, the fog-filtered light of San Francisco, and in the patterns and repetitions of language and nature.”

Technique

Traditionally rooted hand-fabrication and finishing is an important part of the work. Every element of the collection is produced in the San Francisco studio by hand. During her years as an apprentice, Tura Sugden was trained to use a traditional German blowpipe, a once-common tool that has become a dying technique. It incorporates the power of breath to supply oxygen and gas, which is controlled by a hand-adjusted valve. By blowing air into a tube from the user's mouth and controlling a flow of propane with the left hand, the operator of the blowpipe can control a very fine flame, suitable for gold-working and ideal for intricate work. Tura employs this method of heating for all soldering applications in the studio.

Materials

The collection utilizes recycled high-karat gold and ethical diamonds. Yellow gold, rose gold, and palladium white gold are the three main alloys that make up the collection. Palladium white gold is a hypoallergenic white gold alloy that eliminates the element of nickel and has a beautiful gunmetal color that doesn't require a rhodium plate. 18k palladium isn't a new alloy, but it's uncommon in the industry and is a unique element of the collection.