“Santa: What will You bring me this year!?”

by Naomi Gryn 

DO YOU BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS? YOU KNOW, THAT CHUBBY, JOLLY FELLOW WHO PERSONIFIES THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, WITH HIS RED SUIT AND WHITE BEARD. BUT HE DIDN’T LOOK ALWAYS LOOK THAT WAY…
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Illustration by INCYCUBANS

In 1931 Coca-Cola commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop advertising images for an advertising campaign. Sundblom took his inspiration of a friendly, plump Father Christmas or Santa Claus – an Americanized adaptation of the Dutch Sinterklaas – from Clement Clark Moore’s 1822 poem A Visit From St. Nicholas:

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

Sundblom’s model was his friend, Lou Prentiss, a retired salesman. When Lou died in the late 1940s, Sundblom started painting himself instead.

Children all over the world are hoping they’ve behaved well enough for Santa to bring them presents. There’s a child inside all of us hoping we’ll be given something special too. What would you like Santa to bring you this year? I wouldn’t mind a pair of these gorgeous earrings by Aisha Baker…

THE JEWELRY ICON

Hanukkah Gelt

December14Jewelry Now
GIFTING GOLD: AN ANCIENT HANUKKAH TRADITION

by Naomi Gryn 

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Illustration by Ellie Rahim

The festival of Hanukkah will begin this year on the evening of Thursday, 10 December, bringing light and joy to Jewish homes all over the world. It celebrates the miraculous victory in 165 BCE of the Maccabees, a group of Jewish rebel warriors, against the mighty Hellenist rulers who had forbidden Jewish religious practice in ancient Israel.

The story handed down from one generation to the next is about how, when the Jewish zealots regained the Temple in Jerusalem, they found enough pure oil to light the seven-branched menorah for only one day, and yet the oil lasted for eight days until more could be brought. For this reason, Jews light candles for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. But the real miracle of this festival is about indomitability, and the survival of Jewish culture through the ages.

Some think that the tradition of giving children coins on Hanukkah – gelt in Yiddish – started in medieval times, when Jewish children were given money by their parents to give to their teachers as a token of appreciation. Others think it goes back to 142 BCE, when the first Jewish minted coins were stamped with an image of a menorah. Chocolate coins covered in gold foil have also become part of the Hanukkah festivities, often used instead of real coins in a gambling game in which players spin a four-sided dreidl on which are written four Hebrew letters, nun, gimmel, heh, and shin, from a phrase that translates as: ‘a great miracle happened there’. In modern Israel, the shin has been swapped with a peh because the miracle happened ‘here’, not ‘there’.

These days, many Jews copy the Christmas tradition of giving everyone in their family something that they’ll treasure. After all, what could better for cheering up a dark, winter night than giving a well-chosen present to someone you love?

THE JEWELRY ICON

HEMMERLE’S FALL VIEWING 2020: EXPLORATION INTO OUR INNERMOST SENSES

THE HIGH JEWELRY HOUSE PRESENTS ITS MOST RECENT PIECES WITH UNMISTAKABLE SCULPTURAL AESTHETICS AND NEW FRESH INSIGHTS

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Illustration by Ellie Rahim

From whichever angle we look at their creations, we end up at the same culminating point: the unique, identifiable style of Hemmerle.  You cannot mistake them for anything else. 

Is it the way Hemmerle sculpt their jewels – not just ‘design’ them? Or the way they look at the world – the diverse and complex, delicate and provocative beauty of it – and reinterpret this in their creations?

Perhaps it’s the way they don’t prioritize the ingredients of ‘classic’ high jewelry over intriguing, unconventional materials – ancient artefacts, rare woods, unusual combinations of precious and non-precious metals – to power up their imagination and creativity?

Or the overall aesthetic and philosophy of this fourth-generation family-run High Jewelry House?

One thing is for sure: gorgeous and timeless, Hemmerle’s creations continue to adorn and enrich the world of art and jewelry.

The Fall Viewing 2020 of their most recent collection is no exception.

At a time when most of us are being urged to stay at home, Hemmerle explores the air, light and spaces around us, and how we experience them.

The earrings I have picked for today play with the rich, temperamental autumn colors and textures, invoking all five senses: sight – where the metals and stones interplay in a complex architectural dance; sound – how they interact with the atmosphere around them; smell – of the dry, crispy autumn leaves and warm, spicy perfume; touch- the feel of the bold, structured shapes and surfaces; and taste – of ripe, luxuriantly sweet, late autumn fruit.

It takes all five senses – to evoke the exclusive aesthetic of the House of Hemmerle.

DIAMOND MAGIC

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CREATING DIAMONDS OUT OF THIN AIR

by Naomi Gryn 

Illustration by INCYCUBANS

Centuries before the miller’s daughter of Brothers Grimms’ Rumpelstiltskin fame was credited with spinning straw into gold, alchemists have been trying to turn everyday things into precious jewels. My own daughter loves Queen Munch and Queen Nibble by the poet Carol Ann Duffy, in which Queen Nibble makes necklaces out of raindrops. But this is not just the stuff of fairy tales.

Ruby was the first gem to be created in a laboratory by the French chemist, Auguste Verneuil in the 1880s using flame fusion. In 1955 Robert Wentorf Jr bought some crunchy peanut butter from his local food co-op in Niskayuna, New York. Back in his General Electric laboratory, he subjected the peanut butter to immense pressure and heat, transforming it into tiny crystals of diamond. This breakthrough technology could be applied to any carbon-rich material. Gem-quality diamonds were produced in a laboratory for the first time in 1971 and, in recent years, colorless synthetic diamonds have become commercially viable for the jewelry market.

Now, Ryan Shearman, who used to develop products for David Yurman’s Men’s Line, has founded Aether, a carbontech company that has successfully created the world’s first diamond out of air. This cutting-edge alchemist plans to start selling his company’s gems later this year.

Certified by the International Gemological Institute, Aether’s diamonds have the same standards as mined diamonds. Incredibly, they also help clean the environment: a two-carat Aether diamond offsets two and a half years’ worth of the average American’s carbon emissions. How many diamonds would it take to solve the climate crisis?

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