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polaris jewelry Blog

radical consumerism

kaliska sweetwater

In America, consumerism is king. We are constantly being convinced to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need, and that are built to break down, wear out, and become obsolete. This entire model was designed and implemented to benefit the few at the expense of the many. We live in a reality where 95% of the population lives and survives on 28% of the total wealth in this country, while the remaining 5% maintains 72% off the country’s wealth, while paying lower taxes than anyone else. The wealth disparity is more drastic now than even in history- yet we are less aware of it than ever. Consumerism is designed to keep the rich richer, and the rest of us scrambling to grab the scraps. This is not news, even as I write this I feel the redundancies in the things I’m saying, and yet the reality persists, and will continue to persist unless we take change into our own hands.

Now we have an opportunity- a chance to take that power back. We have a say in what the future looks like, and how we spend our money matters now more than ever. If we hope to dismantle a system, we can’t continue to fund it. I hope that by creating a product that’s built to last, using sustainable practices and materials, I can offer the market an alternative. Designs should last a life time- translating from season to season, without breaking the bank, and without needing to be replaced. This is what I hope the future looks like- many small businesses, all sharing in the wealth, hiring our neighbors, and contributing to our local economy. Taking the money and the control out of the hands of the wealthy few, and giving back to the overwhelming majority.

fashion & hypocrisy

kaliska sweetwater

There's a fine line that I try to walk, between being an artist, and being a business owner. For me, the fact that I am making something that will be touching another person is super personal- I want each and every design to be something of high quality, ethical, with detailed practices, and a genuine human touch. Something from my brain, that I make with my hands one by one. Lately, I have been seeing a lot of hypocrisy in businesses and artists I admire. The example that bothered me the most lately is Sophia Amaruso, the founder of Nasty Gal and the author of #girlboss. This is a woman I have been such a fangirl of for years. She was the first young, female millionaire without a college degree in the fashion industry that I had really seen. Reading about how things worked for her, and that she was really able to succeed in that way made me feel like maybe I could, too. I idolized her- and in some ways I still really do; she's smart as hell- she just also is super selfish.

This is where I get stuck- because for me, I feel like integrity is everything. Being honest, and giving a fuck at every possible level. For me it's my art, its my identity, its super wrapped up in me personally- because I do everything. Every single scrap of what happens is me. I have no interest in ripping off someone else's designs, or doing only what I know will sell. It makes me personally queezy- and I have no way of separating that from what I should be doing as a business. I've noticed a lot of people just don't care, or they think of it just as purely a business. Handmade as a commodity. For me it breaks my heart- but it's starting to be a thing.

In November of last year, Sophia announced that her business had gone bankrupt. I couldn't stop thinking about it- what had happened? What had lead her to fail? I had a thousand theories- but I mostly just figured she placed some bad orders and wasn't able to pay for them; something simple. I knew she had hired a CEO, so I figured maybe they had made some bad decisions and she couldn't turn it around. Last week, I found out she actually hired the CEO after all of these lawsuits kept piling up- lawsuits from multiple women who were fired right as they were leaving for maternity leave, and a father who was about to leave for paternity leave. In addition to this, she was also sued  for stealing designs from 2 female jewelry designers- and all cases were settled out of court with non-disclosure agreements. I bothers me for so many reasons- first and foremost the fact that she has build her brand and reputation around #girlboss, which is positioned as a feminist brand that focuses of equality in the workplace and that you don't have to be "the man" to succeed. I wonder how many of her followers know these things- and I wonder why she doesn't seem to care.

I could hate her, and I could forget everything I've learned from her, but that's some bullshit too. We are women- we are varied, and imperfect, and some of us are selfish or bitchy. We are women; we are human. We don't have to be flawless for our stories to matter. I may not respect Sophia as a person, but I learned from her- and seeing her succeed pushed me in ways no other role model has. 

source citation: // jezebel // the new york times // the fashion law // refinery29 // dazed //

planned parenthood

kaliska sweetwater

health care should be safe - information should be free - facts should matter

       For our 2nd collaboration with the amazing photographer Tien Austin, we decided to create a collection featuring two classic pieces with a modern, relevant twist. Featuring local model and artist Theadora Frost, this collection we will be donating 50% of every sale to Planned Parenthood. ( pssst- that ring Thea is wearing? It's actually a necklace! Check it out by clicking the image. )

Click here to donate directly :  Panned Parenthood

behind the quantum collection

kaliska sweetwater

       From sketches, to prototypes, to a finalized collection with images, pricing, and systemized production (which often is me on my floor, working through the night). I love designing, and for every collection the inspiration comes from a different source. Our SS17 collection was birthed from the minutiea of our universe- the beauty that hides in plain sight all around us.

       For me, science and magic have always been intrinsically linked. As a born and raised witch, I have always known that nature is bigger than we know. Vaster, wiser, and cleverer than we believe. When I stumbled on a physics book and began reading, I became mesmerized. The things I was reading sounded like magic, not science. Teleportation across space and time, particles and waves swirling together to form the world we see around us, simultaneous realities?!  Insane!! It reminded me how to view the world how I used to- when everything I saw was new and constantly mind-blowing. 

       This year has shown me that the world isn’t what I thought- that the ground is a lot shakier than it seems. Reading about physics brought me a great deal of calm, mostly because irrationality is baked right in. Reading about quantum physics, and the unseen laws that govern our existence, became a powerful metaphor for me. That metaphor became this collection. The curves of space and time, history as we view it- as we experience it- is it as it is? We may have lived this life before- and physics says so. Though the pieces I put forth are far from microscopic, they represent the beauty of chaos, and the calm that can be found within it. The waves that symbolize the ebb and flow of time, and space, and matter. 


       With serious implications in the future of technology, potential teleportation technology, as well as the implied existence of parallel realities, quantum physics is nothing if not mind bending. And you know what makes it all even more incredible? There have been no experiments able to disprove the theories. Regardless of what you believe, our world is indescribably vast and beautiful. The coming months and years will challenge our ability to remember that, and I hope that in some small way, jewelry can help us scramble through. For me, I always feel a little stronger, a little smarter, and sometimes even a little taller when I put on the perfect pair of earrings and a necklace (or four). 


Want to learn more about QUANTUM physics? Here are some places to start! 


kaliska sweetwater

KD designs is a handmade clothing company here in PDX, made and designed by one of my dearest friends- Katrina Dimick. I first met Katie in pre-school, and we grew up along side each other- going to school together until the 12th grade!

Our paths went in different directions after that, but now here we are! Both makin' rad shit in Portland so we decided to get together and do a little photo shoot! Her clothes, my jewelry, and an absurd amount of fun. 

KD designs is made by hand in PDX and strives to produce effortlessly wearable simple clothing that you will return to time and again. They use deliciously soft materials in basic solids and interesting graphic prints.


kaliska sweetwater

Hi everyone!

POLARIS JEWELRY is starting a blog!! Yay!

The disclaimer is- of course- that I have no idea how to write a blog. So here we go!

I will be sharing glimpses into my life, my city, and of course, behind the scenes at Polaris Jewelry!

It could also just become a glimpse into the chaos of my brain.

Let me know what you like, what you don’t, and what you wish you could see more of!