About Astor + Orion
Astor + Orion Ethically Made Jewelry
An Idea Dreamed in Shanghai, Conceived in Bali, and Born in Seattle
Astor + Orion, just like many aspects of life, was born out of a coincidental meeting.
Karen Hartman - a passionate creative who spent nearly a decade in Shanghai, China as a manufacturing agent - was looking for a new way to express her creativity.
In her search, she came across a jewelry design class taught by renowned American sculptor, Tomas Wittelsbach. Intrigued by the idea of learning how to sculpt organic shapes using a 3D sculpting program called Zbrush, she signed up.
As Karen watched Tomas’ groundbreaking techniques unfold, she knew right away this new workflow could lead to big changes in the jewelry industry. After the class ended, Karen knew she had to use this technique to design a product line of her own.
Truly inspired by Tomas’ perspective on art and design, she kept in touch to discuss the development of her idea. They continued building upon it even when she and her family moved from Shanghai to Bali.
During their regular chats via Skype, it became clear they were both enthusiastic about the concept. Off the cuff, she asked Tomas if he wanted to be a partner in this new company. To her surprise, Tomas said yes. Karen immediately did a happy dance around her garden pool. Tomas then took the lead with the technical design while Karen put her business and manufacturing experience to work to develop the brand and product line.
As fate would have it, Karen’s husband got a new job, which moved them from Bali to Seattle - right into Tomas’ backyard. They established a studio in the Ballard neighborhood and Astor + Orion was born in January of 2018.
Ethical Jewelry for Those Who Aren’t Afraid to Live
Whether you’re exploring Thailand, dancing at Coachella, or having brunch in Seattle, Astor + Orion is designed for people who are passionate about life. But don’t take us too seriously - we’re also here to make you look gorgeous.
We offer unique designs that celebrate your individuality while creating a community of women who aren’t afraid to take risks, achieve their goals, and live their life. After all, we’ve heard somewhere that you only live once. So, why not look amazing while you’re here?
How We Make Our Ethical Jewelry
Even though every piece of jewelry is designed in a 3D environment, each one maintains the vintage charm of intricate handcrafted designs to create a piece that’s as unique as you.
Our process begins with design and 3D modeling. Tomas uses a digital sculpting software called Zbrush to craft every part with finesse and care, treating it as though it’s a piece of art to be hung in The Louvre. Once we’re happy with the design on-screen, we use our 3D printer to create a prototype
We then send our design and prototype to an ethical manufacturing facility in Bangkok, Thailand that takes care of the casting and finishing. There, our factory casts our jewelry in surgical stainless steel and plates them with silver, rose gold, 18k gold, or oxidized titanium. They use recycled metals in every piece they produce.
Wait...Ethical Manufacturing Facility?
Yep, we know what you’re thinking: “bullsh*t.”
It’s true. In 2008, this factory even moved itself from China to Thailand so they could increase their environmental standards. If you’ve never moved a factory before - and we’re pretty sure you haven’t - it takes a little bit more work than hiring a few moving guys and a truck.
In 2012, this factory achieved international certification for their quality, health, and safety standards. Their air and water filtration systems are regarded by the Thai government as the best in the province and a model for new factories to follow.
Still not convinced? Click here to get an inside look at the factory and learn more about their certifications for worker health and safety as well as environmental controls.
How We Support Our Community
We don’t just make beautiful and intricate fashion jewelry; we also use our talents and resources to support the creative community.
A portion of our proceeds goes to Tomas’ Alma mater, Cal Arts. The Cal Arts Community Art Partnership offers free after-school and school-based arts programs for youth. To learn more about the CAPS program, please visit: https://calarts.edu/cap/overview
We also believe strongly in the idea of community over competition. Tomas continues to offer online classes on Zbrush for jewelry design. These classes are designed to show artists how to use the workflows we’ve developed over the years. To learn more about these classes and scholarship programs, please visit: