Terry Castro spent a lifetime interrogating the world around him and translating his experiences into highly personal jewellery designs. Castro always felt like an outsider from the jewellery world but saw this as a virtue that left him free to hand-craft intense, sculptural, artworks that conveyed the strength of his character. Refusing to follow trends throughout his career, Castro consistently earned praise for his craftsmanship and unique approach to jewellery-led design.
Born in 1972 in Toledo, Ohio, Castro’s mother exposed him to travel, fashion and culture at an early age, and when he was young she would discover pearl necklaces missing or the hems of her dresses cut, as he repurposed the luxurious materials for his own handcrafted outfits. Later, Castro would bring home rusted, junk components from a local scrapyard, and transform them into his first jewellery creations to be sold at his shop in Toledo.
Embracing the darker aspects of life, his work features ornate gothic details intertwined with brutal, destroyed elements. The relationships between death, masks, animals, and humans are recurring themes in his work, with the concepts behind his creations born in his ‘Dreamscape’, the murky world he inhabited when sleeping. Unapologetically raw, Castro’s aesthetic drew the likes of Michèle Lamy and Steven Tyler to be among his first collectors.
Castro preferred a hands-on, intuitive approach to construction. Each piece was meticulously handcrafted over months or even years, and sometimes destroyed if he was unsatisfied with it. Castro’s obsessive attention to detail and strict standards of excellence elevated his craft to the highest levels.
In 2016 Castro relocated to Istanbul, Turkey, to escape increasing racial tension in America. In Istanbul, he established a design studio and collaborated with jewellery masters in the Grand Bazaar. This period marked a significant evolution in his style and workmanship.
In 2021, he collaborated with DeBeers Diamonds and exhibited with Sotheby’s Jewels in the exhibition Brilliant and Black, and helped create the Hand in Hand charity auction, in which Black and POC jewellers came together to raise funds for families displaced by the Ukraine war. A mentor to many artists and creative entrepreneurs, in the summer of 2021 Castro died peacefully at his home in Istanbul.
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