Designer Morgan Thomas—founder of the Black-owned, women-operated brand Yam—is dedicated to creating new, yet nostalgic jewelry, combining upcycled materials, vintage silhouettes and cheeky nature motifs. These Pearl Sconce Earrings are handmade in Thomas’ Queens, NY studio from upcycled materials: vintage-sourced pearls, chunky silver chain and finished with a cluster of wire wrapped around the pearls. Each pair is unique and one-of-a-kind to the nature of the upcycled materials. Each Yam Pearl Sconce Earring measures 3”l.
MaterialPearls and sterling silver chain and findings
Year of Design2021
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“Before Covid, I preferred seeing and feeling materials in person, but many of those NY stores have closed, so now I source online,” explains Thomas of the deadstock she upcycles. “After I run through stock of a material, I’m left with three decisions: source from another seller, modify the design or discontinue the style.”
“Yam is based in Long Island City, Queens and the majority of our production happens in-house or on the East Coast,” explains Thomas. “Castings are made in Manhattan and gold plating takes place in Rhode Island. All soldering, finishing and assembling is completed by me or my production assistant.”
“The vintage silhouettes are all mined from my childhood, like a spiral design that references a necklace my mom wore,” says Thomas. “I want my designs to spark a memory, like a scent that immediately snaps you back to a specific person or moment.”
Based in Queens, NY, Yam is a handmade jewelry brand founded by designer Morgan Thomas. This Black-owned, women-operated brand produces designs that combine deadstock materials with vintage silhouettes. “Yam is an ode to my late mother and I like to think that my designs remind people of what they know and what they once knew,” explains Thomas.Shop All YAM
At MoMA Design Store, all of the designs we sell are curator-approved and authentic. We ensure the integrity of our products through research and by working closely with the designers. Our products embody the spirit of good design objects in MoMA's collection. Some of them are actual designs represented in the Museum's collection.