Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Most of us would argue that our favorite item to wear (be that a cozy sweater, badass boots, or sparkly cocktail ring) has legitimate powers to make us feel happier. Jewelry designer Courtney Bensik takes that concept one step further in creating her line, Androgyny Design. The Colorado native—who now calls Koreatown home—has always been drawn to nature's elements, and that fact is obvious in examining her pieces, which are both designed with them in mind, or centered around crystals that are chosen for the specific properties they offer their wearer.
A self-taught jeweler and self-described gemstone aficionado, Bensik aims to make wearable works that not only look beautiful (though they completely do) but do their owner some good: balancing energy, protecting, and bringing success among some of the capabilities her gemstone-boasting pieces may have. The made-in-LA collections feature raw, edgy pieces in bronze, sterling silver, and gold, frequently with stones like amethyst or quartz, but the line's most exciting possibilities lie in creating custom pieces. Bensik loves to work one-on-one with clients looking for something that will benefit them both aesthetically and spiritually.
We sat down with Bensik to learn more about her stunning work, what she loves so much about rocks, and where she might be secretly hiding a crystal.
When you create a custom piece for a client, how does the process of choosing materials or designs to suit them work?
One of my favorite things to witness is when a human falls madly in love with a rock. Whether it's because of how it visually looks or because of how it makes them feel. It ignites a sensation. That's an example of the magic I was previously referring to. So once that happens, it's fairly easy to come up with their preferences for metal, style, fit, etc. I then have the fun job, often with much creative freedom (which I love!), of designing the setting to compliment an already amazing treasure.