Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, March 28

Gapers Block

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JKAT Jewelry is owned and operated by Joni Kat Anderson and Matthew Cohen. Anderson and Cohen met while attending UCLA, and together relocated to Chicago upon graduation. Cohen, a native Chicagoan, had a home filled with music and a head for science. He moved to Los Angeles to attain a degree in cognitive science and to continue work on his music and songwriting. Anderson grew up in Malibu, CA surrounded by a family of accomplished artists. She learned early on how to express herself through art from her father, who was a special make-up effects artist for feature films. Eventually, Anderson would follow in her father's footsteps, and worked on the films The Crow and Dead Presidents, sculpting and creating special make-up effects. Combining their individual artistic backgrounds into JKAT, Cohen and Anderson collaboratively design and create sterling silver jewelry with "a bold city style," a style for which JKAT was awarded the Fashion Group International's 2004 Style Makers and Rule Breakers Award. JKAT Jewelry can be found at the following Chicago retailers: Hazel, Spare Parts, State Street Marshall Field's, Water Tower Place Marshall Field's, Elements, and shebang. To learn more about JKAT Jewelry, upcoming events, and to shop online visit

Q: Your jewelry strikes me as somehow being "explosively refined." I hope this doesn't come off as an insult — I certainly don't mean it to be — but I immediately think glam rock — in its full androgynous glory — whenever I see your jewelry. Where can someone locate irreverence in JKAT's work?

JKAT: We're glad that you picked up on the fact that our work is different. We do think of ourselves as a kind of rock n' roll jewelry company (although not necessarily glam rock), in that we don't follow the trends. We operate according to our own sensibilities and our pieces are a direct reflection of us. There is a bit of unisexuality in our pieces. It's at least partially because we are a man and woman design team. We find both men and women are attracted to our work... perhaps because of the boldness and the clarity of it. It's not frilly, wishy-washy jewelry. We want it to look cool and decisive. We want to stand out from the crowd.

Q: Most of your pieces will be bought and worn by people that will forever remain anonymous to you. How does anonymity inform the manner in which JKAT approaches its craft?

JKAT: Although it might seem like an anonymous system, it hasn't really worked out like that for us. We end up hearing from a lot of satisfied customers who become JKAT collectors. We also keep in contact with the stores we deal with and get constant feedback on the reactions to our work. We love and appreciate this interaction we have with our customers, and it does play a role in what we do, but we can't start guessing at what people are going to want. The creative process of designing our silver and in the end, our jewelry pieces, is our way of contributing to the world. We know what we want to create and as long as we stay true to our vision, we know that we'll make quality work, and people will respond to that.

Q: What dictates the choice of the stone or gem used in a particular piece of jewelry? Is this a choice made purely off-the-cuff, the whim of a given moment? Or is there a conscious motif at work in these choices?

JKAT: Most importantly, the choice of stone or gem is to compliment our silver work. We design and create all our own silver pieces, which is the main focus of our jewelry. We do, however, use a lot of stones to accent our silver and yes, there is a conscious motif for any given period of time. Sometimes it's a specific stone, a specific color palette, a certain cut of stone or even just a general feeling that the colors evoke. Sometimes we really love a stone, but if it doesn't look right in our designs, it just doesn't look right and we can't use it. It's funny, but we spend a lot of time thinking these things out so that in the end, everything looks totally organic, as if it had always existed.

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About the Author(s)

John Hospodka is a life-long Chicagoan, and today lives with his wife in Bridgeport. He does not profess to be an expert in anything; he's just a big fan of the arts and is eager to make more sense of them. Direct comments or suggestions for interviews to

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