It was with baited breath that I waited for the unveiling of Leonard Kamhout’s newest collection.  As you may be aware it has been 10 years since his Kiss and Flow collections and you could not help but feel that he had explored pretty much every motif that those had allowed him to do.  Well he has certainly set himself free from those instantly identifiable, almost iconic designs, but has ended up taking on the most difficult and overdone genre of all – the skull.

Before I talk about the collection I really want to say that I am a big fan of everything that Kamhout has touched in the past and want any criticism I may have framed in the context that I hold him as one of the most talented and respected silversmith and designer working today.  Kamhout’s work with skulls began when he collaborated with Black Sabbath 2 years ago for their line of jewelery and it is nice to see that those designs have evolved since then to the point where they are the basis for a whole new collection.

No collection would be complete without a Lone Ones bell and this really does not dissapoint

Coming in at a whooping 115,500 Yen this pendant explores ideas of Indian Reincarnation and incorporates a skull relatively subtly into the piece and could easily be worn the other way round as this is a truly 3D piece.

My other stand out piece from the collection is this necklace that unites all the new skulls together

I really think this works as a whole as individually the skulls are not quite strong enough on their own to really make an impact but together their different meanings and idiosyncratic nature makes this a bold and timeless piece.  Only drawback is the 144,900 yen price tag, especially when you consider how small and delicate these skulls are (1.4cm high)

My final pick is this great Barock skull ring that manages to do something I have not seen before

I love the twisted band on this ring and it encourages you to look closer at the ring itself which leads you to see the perfectly formed detail that has gone into this ring.  65,100 yen

You must be braced for a little bit of criticism by now.  And I would invite you to have a good look at the rest of the collection here.  I can’t help but feel that it strays too far into the gothic skull jewelery category that so many have done before and are in fact doing better.  While it is nice to see skull jewelery free of stones, gold solder and brass detail that everyone else is so keen to do you just can’t help but expect something a little more special from Lone Ones especially at the price that is asked.  I guess that another issue stems from the fact that I have long got used to Lone Ones levels of pricing for their classic designs which makes them seem more reasonable, maybe in time my opinion on that might change, but for now for this kind of skull jewelery I have just come to expect a bit more.

Also the quality of design is not quite immediately apparent.  Case in point is this bracelet, when you look closer you can see that every link is different and builds to a cycle, but at first glance just looks like your usual messy gothic bracelet.  It is not like I want a big sign saying I spent 350,000 yen on a bracelet, just that at least with Kamhout’s older designs you instantly knew they were his, maybe my problem lies in the fact that this is such a huge jump in direction from him.

So as I edge towards my conclusion I think I will satisfy myself by saying that I am just not quite sure yet.  I have a feeling that this may well grow on me, but I just not sure this will ever convert to me actually buying any of it.  Still, it always remains a privilege to see what Lone Ones come up with next, lets just hope that we won’t have to wait too long for the next collection


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2 Responses to Lone Ones Basic Nature

  1. Howard Wheeler says:

    Good Morning Tokyo Telephone,

    I am an employee at Lone Ones Inc. and really enjoyed reading your article. My only concern is that you are mistaken, Leonard Kamhout only designed the Mating Flight and Kisses line. He, however, did not design the Basic Nature/Skull line. A designer by the name of Marek Buchwald worked on the skull line for a total of 10+ years to create such a magnificent collection. Please take this into consideration, I do love your article though. Great insight on your perception of our line. Please do not remove.. maybe fix?

  2. Samuel says:

    @ Howard,

    Thanks for getting in touch and for pointing out my error. I am afraid I picked it up from an article in a Japanese silver magazine where they made the same assumption I did. I had no idea Marek Buchwald was behind it, but now I know that makes so much more sense.

    I will update the article, but I would love to put out something up to date on Lone Ones as a whole, I am a big fan and since writing this I have handled a lot of your newer designs and I would love to introduce them to an English speaking audience. Feel free to email me and I am sure we could put something interesting together.

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