Not-a-Gem was a personal brand started in 2016. It featured a collection of minimalist concrete jewellery handcrafted from local sourced cement powder mixed with filtered water, natural pigments such as mineral powders, coffee syrup & beetroot juice and coated with cold-pressed flaxseed oil & beeswax to ensure long-lasting pieces.
The idea of starting a manufacturing brand became real after visiting Berlin in October 2016. By then I was already working with concrete for more than an year and coming back changed my creative view on Bucharest. One day I found this article about Rami Dacia – a synthetic diamond factory, one of the greatest businesses of the Romanian state. I started dreaming of a facility that produces diamonds made of concrete and the first product was born.
In May 2017, on the occasion of Romanian Design Week, a second product came to life: the concrete cube. Manufacturing process stayed the same: mixing the concrete powder with water & pigments, pouring the paste into molds and waiting one day to properly dry. Next, each gem was grinded by hand underwater, left for two more days to completely dry, then coated with cold-pressed flaxseed oil, which is one of the best concrete preservatives, and an extra layer of beeswax for more protection. The concrete cube was featured in the RDW2017 gift shop for the entire week of event.
Not-a-Gem was a vegan-friendly brand. An unoxidable metal ring kept the concrete gem and faux-suede cord together. Everything was packed in 100% recycled cardboard and all the paper used was also recycled & naturally dyed.
The concrete gems were fully customisable to be worn with everyday outfits, attached to a bag, keys or smartphone and even be used as a handle.
Check Instagram for a deeper visual exploration.