Dig Baton Rouge

Badass and Pretty: BR designer crafts jewelry using bones

Emily Annabelle Koro thrives in the balance between her contrasting life as a daytime bookkeeper for an outdoor gear shop and her experimental jewelry side business.

How experimental? Koro’s recent alchemy-inspired pieces were created using the process of electroforming, which involves the complex process of controlling a metal deposit onto an organic or inorganic material. Through the use of the unconventional and scientific application of electroforming, she preserves and repurposes mouse bones, twigs and various organic materials into pendants, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings.

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The combination of these electroformed creations strung or wired with with crystals, glass beads or other various elements result in stunning, inimitable pieces of jewelry.

“During the day, I’m usually thinking about making jewelry when I’m not crunching numbers, and in the midst of my creative process, I’m thinking about numbers and other analytical situations,” Koro said.

Koro’s artist name, Emily Annabelle Koro, was inspired by the unwavering support her dogs Annabelle and Koro have provided and continue to provide her.

“My dogs Annabelle and Koro have been a very important part of my jewelry-making process,” Koro said. “I can’t imagine making jewelry without them curled up by my feet just as I can’t imagine life without making jewelry. Simple as that.”

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At 19 years old, Koro began making jewelry to satisfy her fascination with the magical properties of everyday objects and animals, especially snakes. She sees the creature as the ultimate representation of female power—shedding old skin and being reborn.

Abiding to her morals as an unflinching activist against animal cruelty, Koro sources snake vertebrae from friends who find them dead alongside the road. But she won’t take everything her friends give her.

“Sometimes I’ll have friends who offer me a dead snake they killed out of fear, and I just won’t accept it because of the premise under which its life was taken,” Koro said. “I appreciate their gesture, but it goes against what my pieces morally stand for.”

Aside from wine corks, copper-wrapped crystals and other various up-cycled materials, some of Koro’s best-sellers are her repurposed bullet case pieces.

“Moving to this region of Louisiana has unquestionably influenced my bullet case necklaces,” Koro said. “Southern girls want to look badass and pretty at the same time.”

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The inspiration for her work varies, which often lends to uncategorizable jewelry. If she could design jewelry for anyone, it’d be Nick Cave.

“Sometimes I’m inspired by the ‘The X-Files.’ I make art the way I carry on conversation: random and tangential.”

When Koro was 23-years-old, after her mother died, her jewelry became heavily influenced by Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday celebrating the dead. Koro incorporated elements from the traditional Mexican sugar skull in these pieces to signify the celebration and at the same time honor her mother’s life.

“If you really pay attention to my pieces, they reflect memorable moments in my life that I want to preserve forever,” Koro said.

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When it comes to advice for other aspiring artists, jewelry makers, potters, craftspeople, composers, Koro said it’s important to always create what speaks from within.

“Do what you want. It sounds so simple and obvious, but I get frustrated when people ask ‘What should I design for this show? What could I make for this upcoming festival?’ because that’s not what it’s about. I’ve never stopped to think about where it goes from here.

“I make jewelry because I can’t imagine my life without it, and if it speaks to someone else and they buy it, great. If not, great.”

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You can find Emily Annabelle Koro wire-wrapping crystals at Coyote Moon Crystal & Gifts during the last Sunday of every month from 2 p.m. through 6 p.m.

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