Appreciating Hendler in the Present & Future by Matt Burkholz


Erik and I both have loved Acri-Gems as vintage collectibles for more than 15 years. We are both drawn to these designs featuring Zen-like simplicity, space age sleek styling, and the brilliant translucent lucidity of high quality acrylic, glowingly geometric yet utterly elegant.

Upon meeting Judith, Erik and I both found a kindred artistic spirit and friend, and commenced, each on an individual basis, to evolve professional relationships which allow for lots of give and take in the selling of these wonderful vintage jewels on the secondary market. Reopening my longtime business, reborn as Route 66 West, I hosted a store event zanily titled: Plastica Luxuria: Tangible Testament to the Utter Opulence of Man-made Material. At this cocktail party and exhibition, a large selection of vintage Acri-Gems was presented to a wildly enthusiastic clientele hungry for fresh, contemporary-yet-vintage designs.

Judith attended personally, as did 50 to 75 other Palm Springs fashionistas and collectors who thoroughly enjoyed the desert night air and talking with the artist one on one as they watched her etch her signature onto neckrings of vintage pieces which previously bore a tag rather than a permanent marking. Everyone felt they were on the wave of an exciting new retro style from the early ‘80s being recapitulated in the 21st century.

Both Erik and I are excited to assist with the launch of a group of new Judith Hendler designs with the coming fall 2010 season. Categorically proclaiming the lines would all be devoid of color, starkly illuminates the long time popularity of water clear and frosted clear acrylic for Judith as an artist. Initially, she has created a men’s line of jewels incorporating sleek neckrings reinterpreted in sterling silver as well as restated in clear and frosted acrylic with no embellishment at all. This austere, wholly masculine approach with tubular interchangeable barrels in the same materials can be combined dependent upon the wearer’s daily whim.

After the Men’s line, a unisex group of jewelry is planned, followed by a women’s collection reinterpreting and expanding concepts from Judith’s vintage designs. New materials such as modernistic asymmetrical baroque pearls, combinations of textured frosted and clear acrylics, and Asian influenced carved bone and natural ethnographically styled amber will be introduced taking Judith’s designs into new realms of jewelry style.

We can all look forward to limited edition, signed examples of Judith’s new work in the year to come, with fashion shows, stylist shoots, and exhibition-openings introducing the public to a classic vintage artist’s new vision. Watch for announcements Judith Hendler at for details regarding events featuring new Hendler lines (and perhaps a retrospective book) as they emerge.