Gem Specification, includes jewelry by artists Nikki Couppee and Shelly McMahon.
Both artists share an investigation into the gemstones. Historically, costume jewelry has taken on the role of recreating fine gemstones in non-precious materials. Both Coupee and McMahon speak to the futility of replicating fine jewelry inexpensively by create their own gemstones out plastic, leather, and balsa wood.
Shelly McMahon uses research about the neuropsychological effects that faceted gemstone in fine jewelry have on our attention in order to devise algorithms for the creation of ornament. Her work investigates what causes the brain to block out the majority of incoming visual stimulus in favor of a singular one.
Nikki Couppee explores the different functions jewelry performs in society. Her work questions value by making adornment that is reminiscent of royal jewelry but made out of everyday materials such as plexiglass, brass, wood and polymer clay. She creates jewelry that is extravagant in color and size. Her designs are playful and beautiful.