Even the keenest-eyed jeweler would have to look at Kelly McGrath’s tattoos with a loupe to determine if they were fake or not. Alongside creating tons of sparkly tattoos featuring some of the cutest imagery imaginable, she has a knack for capturing the iridescent aesthetic of gemstones with such accuracy that each of her pieces looks as if it came straight from Tiffany’s.
McGrath’s mastery over rendering blended color schemes is the secret to how she makes her tattoos so elegant and lifelike. If you look closely at any one of her stones, you’ll see how she amalgamates two hues of the same color with a bit of black and white to give each one the shimmering illusion of reflecting light. Bold lines shape the silhouette of her gems and when set in a bronze or golden border, the tattoos capture the appearance of finely-crafted, high-end jewelry.
It isn't just the wide variety of different stones that McGrath draws inspiration from that captivates us, but how she has developed techniques that emulate them in a stunning manner. Whether it is using a mixture of colorful dotwork to mimic the pearlescent look of opals, or mimicking the reflection of light off of each gemstone to give them a real shine, McGrath has perfected the art of tattooing gemstones.
The majority of McGrath’s gemlike tattoos take the form of pendants with cabochons, smooth stones with flat bottoms and rounded tops. She usually assembles these “cabs” into a fan-like arrangement, creating a design that’s reminiscent of peacock tail feathers. When it comes to faceted stones, McGrarth has an affinity for heart-shaped cuts, as seen in her magical depiction of Sailor Moon’s crescent wand.
To see more of McGrath’s crystalline masterpieces, head to her Emerald City of an Instagram. She works out of her private studio in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and her books are currently closed, but should you want to get on the long waiting list to be bedazzled by her, she can be reached at email@example.com. Also, make sure to visit her website where you can purchase some of her other art, including prints and other sparkly swag like pins and patches.