Hawaii Designer Q&A: Jason Dow

Local goldsmith and fine jeweler Jason Dow sheds some light on his stunning new Prakāśa Collection.
Necklaces, left to right:  Prakāśa Hinged Pendant in 18K gold with .80ct diamonds and royal blue moonstone, $11,500.  Prakāśa Duet Necklace in 18K gold with .96ct diamonds, $6,800.  Prakāśa Pearl Pendant in 18K gold with 1.06ct champagne diamonds and an 11mm Tahitian black pearl, $10,400.
Dow relaxes mid photo shoot.

Photo: Courtesy Jason Dow.

A few of Dow Prakāśa Collection sketches.

Photo: david croxford

HONOLULU Magazine: First, a little background info …
Jason Dow: I graduated from the Gemological Institute of America back in 2002. After that I spent a few years as the designer and goldsmith at Maui Divers Jewelry. Then I launched Jason Dow Jewelry in 2008.

HM: How would you describe the Jason Dow Jewelry aesthetic?
It’s a lot of clean lines, modern shapes and intricate details. I like to play with positive and negative space. I try to create sculptural, three-dimensional pieces that can be admired from every angle.

HM: Inspirations?
JD: I find inspiration in everything from architecture and frieze stone artwork to wood carvings and window lattice work, along with the Moroccan and Persian cultures.

HM: Your pieces are all made from start to finish at your Kaimuki studio. What’s your design process like?
JD: I start with a sketch, which I take into CAD (computer aided design software). That’s where it can get tricky because some designs that work as sketches don’t necessarily translate well to 3-D. There’s a lot of prototype time that goes into each piece. Using CAD, I print the design out as a wax model, which I then use to cast the design in gold. Then I set in any stones, and finish and polish the piece.

HM: So, your latest collection is called Prakāśa?
JD: Yes, Prakasa means light, or light of consciousness, in Hindi. The collection was modeled after Asian hanging lanterns.

HM: What sorts of materials can we expect?
JD: The collection is all solid 18K gold with hand set diamonds, pearls and moonstones.

HM: And types of styles?
I did a handful of smaller, daintier pieces, which include single and double drop earrings, a single pendant necklace and a double-pendant lariat necklace. And then I did a few larger necklace styles. The Prakāśa Pendant is a sort of half lantern with a smooth side that lays flat against the chest. The Prakāśa Hinged Pendant features three moveable sections that shift and split apart, and the Prakasa Pearl Pendant has a slightly more open structure, which frames an 11mm Tahitian black pearl.

HM: What was it about the light that captured your attention?
JD: There’s a lot of power in light. Your inner light is where your power comes from. With lanterns, it comes from the core, shines out and expresses itself to the world. I see the lantern as a representative of the person and how their inner light shines through. Kind of like amulets, the Prakāśa pieces are meant to provide you with the confidence to be comfortable in your own skin and be strong in the face of adversity.

View the full Jason Dow Jewelry collection at jasondow.com. Select styles available on Oahu at Hildgund Jewelers, Kahala Hotel and Resort, 737-8663, and JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa, 679-0222.