Fabergé for fidgeters: Grant Robinson’s kinetic jewels

Grant Robinson designs and constructs kinetic jewelry, usually in the form of animals or plants that spring to life when you push their buttons. His pieces are kinetic in the literal sense: moving only when manipulated, high-karat push-puppets with hidden springs that transform when compressed.

Kinetic jewelry by Grant Robinson

Kinetic push-puppet jewelry by Grant Robinson of 18k gold, lapis, garnet, onyx, enamel and pearls

But his toys have to work as jewelry first. “I try to attack this by reverse-engineering it, from a wearability point of view,” Robinson says.

“I try to figure out how I can make a beautiful piece of jewelry, with a nice size and color, around an element of movement. So, it’s a nice pendant and then, boom, look at this – it moves! That’s the journey for me: designing that one-two punch, not a coo-coo clock around your neck.”

StopandGoHis kinetic pieces recall the classic segmented, plastic puppet push-toys where you push a button on the bottom and the limbs and head spring up – except Robinson’s are made of materials Fabergé might have used. Each is different, involving a unique challenge, and takes a long time to construct.

In short, they’re very expensive, wearable toys.

Push the pearl at the bottom of the malachite-and-gold base of Robinson’s Tree of Knowledge, and 18k branches bloom with enameled green leaves. A red enameled turtle extends his golden feet when you pull its spring-loaded head.

Grant Robinson Push-Puppet Tree

Grant Robinson Red Turtle push puppet necklaceNot surprisingly, his jewelry appeals as much, if not more, to the men who commission it as the women who wear it. “My jewelry is a pretty straight-forward adaption of something that’s been around since push puppets were invented,” Robins says.

“But it’s small scale and made of precious material, and it ties in to the emotional joy people had as kids. That’s the selling point of these things. When people try these things out, it brings on a smile of recognition. That movement takes them back to their childhood.”

It’s hard to describe jewelry that really exists to be manipulated. Here’s a video he sent me that demonstrates one of his recent pieces: a gold lapel pin that pours ruby wine.

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Is that insane?

For more information, visit his website.

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3 comments for “Fabergé for fidgeters: Grant Robinson’s kinetic jewels

  1. August 2, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Yes, you are right. This jewelry reminds me my childhood and all the things I used to love in my childhood. I like these jewelry as it give a unique and different identity to a person. Can you please let me know, from where it would be possible for me to buy these type of jewelry online?

  2. August 2, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    You can commission it from Grant himself, Kally. The link to his website is at the end of my post (above).

  3. August 3, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Thank you very much Cathleen. :)

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