Ferrari supercars have long offered the best blue hues, in my opinion. Mazda has the light-catching Soul Red Crystal and Nissan’s Monarch Orange is stunning. Simply put, we need more color in this world. In any case, a Ferrari in any shade of blue isn’t going to grace my personal collection any time soon—I’m a journalist with a journalist budget, after all—but it’s not so bad when you can wear accessories made from Ferraris and more by CRASH Jewelry.
I must have been really good this year because Santa brought me not one but two cuffs, one made from a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale in Rossa Corsa and one from a Ferrari 360 Modena painted in high-metallic Azzuro California. Both were fabricated from, as you might’ve guessed, parts of crashed vehicles.
Four miles south of UCLA, Beverly Coachcraft specializes in collision repairs for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. As one does when driving an expensive car, the owners often want a part replaced rather than repaired. That means doors, hoods, fenders, and quarter panels with small and large dents, scratches, or dents are swapped out. The byproduct of that process is a whole lot of aluminum, and Christi Schimpke had motive, access, and a plan to turn those raw materials into bespoke pieces of jewelry for the car-obsessed.
Schimpke started CRASH Jewelry after she moved her creative studio into Beverly CoachCraft, where her husband is one of the owners. She noticed a parade of luxury cars from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Bentley, Aston Martin, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Maserati, and more rolling by and started thinking about the discarded parts and how she might recycle them. No one was hurt in any of these fender-benders, by the way; that would be ghoulish. CoachCraft works on late-model European cars that mostly suffer lot damage at the dealership or from a valet. If a car is badly wrecked, it’s usually a total loss which means the insurance company owns it and CRASH doesn’t touch it.
Schimpke was already fabricating more traditional jewelry as a trained artist, but the price of metal was soaring in 2013 when she started the company. When she came up with the idea to recycle the parts from CoachCraft, she had a nearly endless supply of materials. However, she had to come up with her own production techniques, especially as the original factory paint on sheet metal didn’t like to stay put when she bent the metal into a cuff shape.
It took about three years to really get the metalworking processes down, she says, but now she has systems in place and is constantly improving them. Sales at CRASH Jewelry have increased by 400 percent and Schimpke’s work is finding its way to fame, too: a guest on the fifth season of Jay Leno’s Garage was wearing one of her cuffs, and models on the runway during L.A.’s Fashion Week wore CRASH jewelry.
These are not just for women, either: if I wore French cuffs, I’d want these Lamborghini Gallardo links in Monterey Blue. Schimpke etched into the metal to expose the silver underneath and they’re pretty hot.
Hey, if you were good this year too, you can buy them for yourself.
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