While it is true that many designers have a highly recognizable signature that makes their work easy to identify, that is a clarion truth for jewelry designer Alex Šepkus. It is almost impossible not to utter his name when you see a piece of his jewelry. Šepkus, who hails from Vilnius, Lithuania, is the son of an architect. Highly educated, he is a graduate of the Lithuanian Academy of the Arts, with his focus in industrial design. His studies included numerous practical and vocational arts, such as glass-making, sculpture, interior design, and graphic arts, and ultimately he sat for a graduate degree in jewelry-making and design. His academic CV likely informed the visual narrative that was to become his innovative look.
He arrived in the States in 1988 and it did not take long for his work to be noticed. He was recognized by the Jewelers of America as the winner of its New Designer of the Year Award within the first five years of establishing his business.
His work is precise and highly intricate. The pieces are characterized by a surface covered in geometric shapes — mostly circles — that interlock and marry like cobblestones on an ancient street in a medieval European village. The puzzle pieces are circles within circles, oblong shapes that hug round-cornered squares, diminutive rectangles that house tiny orbs within them. Stones accent many of these shapes with darkened borders and the inset glittering gems may be diamonds, tsavorites, garnets, sapphires, or rubies, to name a few stones that the designer favors. Surfaces are matte or glimmering, and the contrast between the two adds to the seductive look of the pieces.
If you see a Šepkus piece, you might use a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe to better appreciate the detailed and complicated work. The craftsmanship is both complex and meticulous.