Illustration by Inkycubans

What makes art Art?

Resistance to mass production? An emotional trigger? Originality? The artist’s identity?

Sometimes I catch myself thinking: if some of the talented artists had not become jewelry designers, what would they be doing instead? They would still be talented, successful and probably happy. The only ones to lose would be us—their admirers, followers and collectors who would miss out on exquisite pieces of this extraordinary, ancient and ever modern art.

With its laconic outline, absence of redundant, decorative details, classic, contrasting colors, elaborate composition of simple geometric shapes, and a strong, architectural silhouette that is both clean and clear, this enameled brooch—the dramatic and dynamic portrayal of a black and a white crow, holding a ruby-red stone in its talons—is not exactly typical for Ilgiz. Yet, it is a splendid reflection of all that he stands for: an artistic predilection for Art Nouveau, immaculate mastery of enameling, and the global idea behind art, plus the delicate conglomerate of a creator’s idea and the beholder’s profound emotional response.

The pieces by Ilgiz Fazulzyanov, a miracle worker from Tatarstan, a two-time winner—Champion of the Champions—of the International Jewellery Design Excellence Awards, are admired by art aficionados and craved by both private collectors and gallerists in Russia and around the globe.

No wonder.

The chance of finding such an ingenious expert in enameling is remote, and yet, the artist did not study jewelry professionally: his knowledge and mastery were earned independently, through passion and ambition, perfectionism and perseverance, by trial and error.

Aiming to surpass himself with every new piece, he studied many different enameling techniques—Japanese, French, English, Russian—and developed his own signature, unique methods, including, but not limited to, the firing of enamel at 950℃, rather than the ‘classic’ 700–800℃, which allows him to achieve a total fusion of glass with the golden surface, as well as a one-millimeter-thick plique-à-jour enamel.

Ilgiz believes that the art of jewelry stands at the confluence of all art forms and technologies. A jeweler must know the basics of drawing, painting, sculpture, perspective, architecture, chemistry, physics and mathematics. He must not be afraid to dirty his hands. He needs to make the metal submit to his rules—and be able to put it all together - to create the ultimate masterpiece.

Aiming at perfection, he can redo a piece of jewelry again and again until he gets the desired effect: color gradations and nuances in the enameled petals of a flower or the feathers of a crow’s wings, which correspond both to the reality and to his creative idea.

Ilgiz’s pieces are so immaculate that they do not have a flip side: the back of every pair of earrings, necklace, brooch or ring is on a par with the front side.

Besides, Ilgiz rarely works ‘around the stone’; rather, he builds the stones, whether precious or not, around the idea to achieve the maximum embodiment of his brainchild.

The crows from the brooch are facing opposite directions, each holding a symbolic stone in their talons. What does the white crow see in our past? Why is the black crow looking at our future?

Despite the menacing juxtaposition of colors, both crows look contemplative and calm. They mean no threat.

These pieces by Ilgiz Fazulzyanov are for genuine art connoisseurs, valuing not just the name of the brand and value of materials, but also the artistry, aesthetics and creativity.

A timeless and priceless investment, if you’re considering one.

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