Guest Author - Ann Marie Hodrick
The iconic key, a symbol of access, has become a trendy fashion jewelry item recently. A key can symbolize access to something that has been locked away as much as it does access to opening up new opportunities. These days, people are migrating to the idea of economic and social rebirth on a global level so what better way to symbolize the opening of doors and new potential, then a key.
Another reason for the popularity of the key is because of the popularity of the jewel encrusted key necklaces released by Tiffany & Co. The Tiffany Keys Collection is a romantic tribute to keys from the Tiffany & Co. Archives. The 18 karat yellow or white gold, platinum with diamonds or sterling silver pendants proved to be so popular with celebrities and fashionable women around the world that Tiffany & Co. issued a second collection of key pendants inspired by the Art Deco jewelry in the Tiffany archives.
The new platinum Keys are encrusted with diamonds and black onyx in geometric shapes and suspended from gem-accented chains. The entire collection is available at select Tiffany & Co. stores worldwide or at tiffany.com.
Tiffany & Co. is not the only one to embrace the key for their jewelry these days. One San Francisco enterprising artist is setting his key pendants apart from the rest by using them to unlock doors for others.
In very early 2009, Trevor Hubbard had the idea that a key on a chain would make a great gift for a graphic artist friend of his that had been laid off. Trevor wanted to soften the blow from losing a job with a skeleton key necklace to remind his friend of the saying that “when one door closes, another opens.” Realizing that the arts community in general was suffering from lack of funding in the weak economy, Hubbard thought there were many artists who could also use a supportive lift. Two weeks later, the 823 Key Project was born.
Hubbard explains his project as “a thread that links the contribution and purchases of many to the creation of one vision. Through a series of one-of-a-kind, vintage, handmade, skeleton-key necklaces, 823KeyProject will grant musicians and writers, painters and photographers, travelers and revelers the proverbial key to showcase their unique interpretation of the world with an emphasis on authentic and community-minded work.”
Another “With the purchase of a key, you become one of 823 cogs in a wheel of creativity. You’re giving back to an art community, to your community, and to the world community. One of the 823 keys can be a symbolic gift to remind friends, family, co-workers, or even yourself that the waters of creativity aren’t stagnant, that the world can always be a more beautiful place, and that there’s massive power in collective thought”, says Trevor.
The number 823 may seem like a random number for this project until you remember that it was once used as a code to send the message “thinking of you” via a pager (back in the day when pagers were the original texting devices.) To fund this project, they are selling 26 sets of 823 key necklaces, after which the money raised from selling them will be distributed in the form of grants to artists to use toward their vision of a more beautiful world. The plan is to give out 26 grants (based on the 26 letters in the alphabet) of $25,000 each for a total of $650,000. Each grant will be assigned a letter and 823 keys.
The project is planning to grant the money to artists working in any medium who want to make the world a more beautiful place and are willing to test the limits of conformity and creativity.
The antique skeleton keys (from 1830 to 1940) are one of a kind found objects that are 3 to 4 ½ inches long and hang on a brass chain. Each chain also has a pewter tag with the numbers 823 and the letter of the grant that it is associated with. Once the 823 keys within a grant are sold, the money will become available and artists can apply for that grant. Granting the money to the artists is not a one way street. Trevor is asking artists who are interested in applying for the grant money to help spread the word about the project. After the money is awarded, the artists will remain connected to the project through updates, show openings and project developments.
To become a part of this philanthropic endeavor, you can purchase a key for $75 at http://www.823keyproject.com/