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Jewelry Maker Karissma Yve's brand Xenophora Creates Poetry in Metal

Her Detroit showroom displays one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces as thoughtful as they are beautiful.

Karissma Yve is a self-taught silversmith and jewelry maker whose unique designs are a marriage of many things. They're visually stunning, but the spirit behind them is the real story.

The brand is Xenophora, and Yve specializes in lost-wax casting, which is when a wax carving is encased in a heat-resistant material, like plaster, and then heated to melt away the wax, creating a mold. Molten metal (gold, silver, bronze or brass) is poured into the mold and then dunked in water. The extreme difference in temperature between hot metal (900-1,100 degrees Fahrenheit) and water causes a thermal shock that causes the mold to dissipate – leaving only the hardened piece behind.

Xenophora's newest collection uses 3D prints of the chemical composition of tears to create the molds. Microscopically, each person's tears look different from one another – and different depending on the reason for the cry.

"I don't make things just because they're pretty," Yve says. "I make things as an extraction of how I'm feeling and real experience. It goes beyond the superficial level. It's connecting on a spiritual level or connecting through aesthetics. It's getting back to why people wore jewelry in the first place."

Yve doesn't sketch; instead, she writes. The result is poetry in metallic form.

She also owns a manufacturing facility, Casting de Khrysopoeia, across the street from her Detroit showroom. Here, Yve collaborates with other jewelry makers and brands while also producing pieces for Xenophora, a tedious process that can take anywhere from two hours to two weeks per piece. But, she says, "When you make things with meaning, that meaning is instilled and gets carried on from generation to generation."

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