Element 13

Mary & Jerry Moran

I’m an ordinary guy, a former Marine who’s spent his career building, refurbishing and repurposing both commercial and military aircraft. Some of the more interesting aspects of my career have included being part of a project team that pulled a 727 out of a South American jungle and refurbished it, and refurbishing a C-199 that was used in the 2004 movie Flight of the Phoenix.

It was after a visit to the Tucson, Arizona, Aircraft Graveyard that I started to think outside the box. I’ve always been able to manipulate aircraft aluminum to whatever specifications I needed, could I then, instead of creating stringers, doublers and frames, create something much more finite. Take something that no longer had purpose in life and give it a new history. From that Tucson visit Criffin Designs was born.

In my studio, located in the foothills of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, each jewelry piece is architecturally designed and handcrafted using both new and salvaged aircraft materials. I do not melt the aluminum and then mass-produce molded pieces. Instead, each piece is individually created and has its own uniqueness. Aircraft aluminum is amazingly light. The advantage? This means I can create substantial, striking pieces without the hindrance of weight dictating size. Women who have not been able to wear larger earrings, now can. Criffin Designs earrings are virtually weightless. You can find Criffin Designs across the country in gift shops, boutiques, galleries and museums.