THE PRISTINE WILDERNESS OF THE OKAVANGO DELTA THROUGH THE PRISM OF DE BEERS DIAMONDS

EVERY DIAMOND, ROUGH AND POLISHED, FINDS ITS PLACE IN DE BEERS’ LATEST HIGH JEWELRY COLLECTION “REFLECTIONS OF NATURE”

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The new De Beers high jewelry collection “Reflections of Nature” consists of five subcollections: Okavango Grace, Ellesmere Treasure, Motlatse Marvel, Landers Radiance, and Namib Wonder.

The power of De Beers’ artists’ imagination, intricate skills and exceptional rough and polished diamonds take you on a spectacular trip to five breathtaking locations: the Okavango Delta, Ellesmere Island, Motlatse Canyon, Landers Reef and the Namib Desert.

The Okavango Grace creations are an amazing combination of light and dark green, grey and light pink, rough and polished diamonds. It is a reflection of the wild and bold nature of the Okavango Delta in Botswana – home to the world’s most endangered large mammals: cheetahs, white and black rhinoceros, African wild dogs and lions.

De Beers has always stood for the importance of wildlife conservation. In 2002, they launched the Diamond Route initiative to protect the biodiversity of eight nature reserves in South Africa and Botswana. “For every hectare of land used for mining by De Beers Group, six hectares are dedicated to the conservation of nature,” says Dr Patti Wickens, the company’s Senior Environmental Manager.

The design of the Okavango Grace drop earrings, inspired by the lush waters of the Okavango Delta, feature a cascade of colored rough diamonds, with two rows of contrasting white brilliant diamonds, recalling the color gradations of slender reeds, terminating in a sumptuous pink diamond waterdrop.

The free-flowing design of the magnificent Okavango Grace necklace features green, pink, white and fancy-color rough and polished diamonds, echoing the graceful aquatic plants that sway in the maze of the Delta’s waterways.

The subtle and refined three-row Okavango Grace bracelet in green, pink, white and fancy-colored rough and polished diamonds is designed so that the exceptional stones enhance each other’s beauty.

“A Diamond Is Forever”, the iconic tagline devised for De Beers by Frances Gerety back in 1947, is still true today.

De Beers’ signature style – the ancient beauty of rough diamonds and timeless sophistication of their polished counterparts – is boldly but gently revealed in the Okavango Grace collection, inspired by this natural, untamed oasis of wild beauty, still untouched by destructive human activity.

THORNY, STRONG AND FRAGILE: THE PERFECT ROSE BY NAK ARMSTRONG

А NEW LOOK AT THE CLASSICAL FLOWER BY THE INNOVATIVE DESIGNER, PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF MODERN JEWELRY

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The geometric Rose and Stem earrings – created by Nak Armstrong, an award-winning designer who has a unique talent for managing spaces and gradations of stones, reputed for his innovative metalworking, stone-setting techniques and experimental aesthetic – have detachable rose buds, which can be worn separately as minimalist stud earrings.

A mosaic of Ethiopian opals, peach and green tourmalines, rubellites and rubies, set in recycled 20k rose gold, represents the different parts of the flower that make a rose. The straight, strong stem, dangerous, needle-sharp thorns, the luscious, deep verdure of the leaves and – as the apotheosis of its natural beauty – the gentle, fresh gradation of pink in this indulgent, fragrant blossom: the heart and soul of luxury perfume. Take care not to stab yourself. Be careful not to break it.

Brush strokes of precious stones develop into an allegory of the modern woman: an amalgamation of our strong female nature and delicate beauty, potent ambitions and loving care, enthusiastic independence and affectionate emotions.

This wearable work of art from Nak Armstrong’s botanical Florapiega collection is perfect for every occasion whether in the form of detachable studs, or for a flirtatious night out or a formal reception, A powerful statement of style and vitality, strength and eternal beauty.

Available on @ Nak Armstrong

LA PEREGRINA PEARL

February11Jewelry Now

RICHARD BURTON’S VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT TO ELIZABETH TAYLOR: A VERY ROYAL PEARL FOR THE LEGENDARY QUEEN OF HOLLYWOOD.

by Naomi Gryn 

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On Valentine’s Day in 1969 Richard Burton presented to Elizabeth Taylor La Peregrina – The Wanderer – a pear-shaped natural pearl, almost 56 carats in weight. It was seven years since they had fallen madly in love on the set of Anthony and Cleopatra and clearly Burton wanted to mark the occasion with a gift of historic proportions.

As big as a quail’s egg and almost perfectly symmetrical, La Peregrina was found in the mid-16th century off the coast of Panama and brought to Madrid where it was presented to Philip II. For more than 200 years, the pink-hued pearl belonged to a succession of Spanish kings and queens – featuring in many royal portraits including some painted by Velasquez and Goya – until the early 1800s when Napoleon’s brother Joseph Bonaparte ruled Spain.

Bonaparte was defeated in 1813 by the Duke of Wellington and returned to France, taking with him some of the Spanish crown jewels, including the prized pearl which he left to his nephew, Louis Napoleon, who would later, as Napoleon III, become Emperor of France. Louis Napoleon sold it in about 1848 – perhaps to help fund the coup that led him to power in that same year – to the Duke and Duchess of Abercorn. The pearl stayed in the Duke’s family until 1969, when it was put up for auction at Sotheby’s Parke Bernet in New York, and sold to Richard Burton for $37,000.

Ward Landrigan, then head of Sotheby’s jewelry division, delivered the pearl in person to the Burtons’ glamorous penthouse suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Liz went to try it on. Famously, twenty minutes later, she ran in crying: “Ward, I’ve lost the pearl.” He searched for it in the pink shag pile carpet and noticed one of Liz’s two Lhasa Apso dogs had something in its mouth. Liz grabbed the dog and got the dog to spit out the pearl, which would become one of the actress’ favorite jewels.

Liz worked closely with Alfred Durante of Cartier to re-design for La Peregrina a two-strand necklace with rubies, diamonds, natural and cultured pearls, which she wore in several films including A Little Night Music and Anne of The Thousand Days. After her death in 2011, Christie’s sold the necklace in auction to an anonymous buyer for $11,842,500. “I cannot see life without Elizabeth,” Burton revealed in an interview, one year before he gave her the pearl. “She is my everything — my breath, my blood, my mind, and my imagination.” But his gift lasted a lot longer than their tempestuous marriage, divorcing for a second time in 1976. Pearls, created in the delicate flesh of an oyster, are – like romantic love – both exquisitely beautiful and a function of pain. But on Valentine’s Day, we celebrate love for the joy that it brings.

MYSTICAL MOON DUST ENTERS THE JEWELRY WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF BUCCELLATI

February04Jewelry in Art

A NEW, REFRESHINGLY VERNAL COLLECTION “POLVERE DI LUNA” BY THE ITALIAN LUXURY JEWELRY HOUSE

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Get ready to see something amazing on the virtual catwalks of 2021.

The luxury Italian heritage jewelry brand Buccellati presents its new high jewelry collection “Polvere di Luna” (“Moon Dust”).

Shrouded in mystery, moon dust has been the subject of scientific research for decades. The Moon is thought to be covered with an ultrafine layer of dust particles which are in constant motion, leaping up and down on its surface. This phenomenon has been lyrically named “lunar dust fountain” or “Moon fountain”, analogous to the water molecules of a fountain which appear static, yet follow a ballistic trajectory.

Refined techniques, perfected since 1919 by successive generations of the Buccellati family, turn their haute couture, rich creations into sophisticated and classy, contemporary and timeless pieces of art.

This year, Andrea Buccellati, Creative Director at Buccellati, and indeed all the jewelers involved in the making of their astounding pieces, have surpassed themselves.

The jewelry house’s aesthetics, elegant taste and intricate craftsmanship, painstaking manual drilling and hand engraving have culminated in a delicate, openwork set of cocktail pendant earrings, set with 178 diamonds, a flexible bracelet set with 280 diamonds, and a super-light necklace, set with 304 diamonds. They appear on the wintery horizon like a lily of the valley, emerging with the first breath of spring through the last of the snow.

Like ethereal particles of moon dust, the refined combination of diamonds, white and yellow gold in the new, filigree Buccellati collection, “Polvere di Luna” sheds fresh light on the concept of luxury jewelry: eternal classics, perfect for nowadays, or any day.

THE JEWELRY ICON

EVANESCENT TIMES AND ETERNAL BEAUTY: NICHOLAS VARNEY AND HENRI LAURENS

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TWO CREATORS, TWO DISCIPLINES AND TWO MASTERPIECES FROM DIFFERENT EPOCHS REVEAL THE PERPETUAL IMPACT OF ART

When we compare different artists, we ask ourselves what do they have in common? But to work in harmony, like the tenor and alto in an opera, do they actually need to have anything in common.

This is the case with two outstanding artists from different generations, artistic disciplines and backgrounds: contemporary jeweler Nicholas Varney and sculptor Henri Laurens (1885–1954).

Two different stories:

Nicholas Varney started travelling the world as a child and has continued his journeys throughout his educational and professional life. From the schools of New York, Newport and Florida, to discovering the beauty of the Caribbean, the museums and antique stores of London, fishing in Ireland, backpacking on his bicycle across Russia and Europe.

Unlike Nicholas Varney, Henri Laurens was not a bred-in-the-bone traveler, and was in his fifties before he visited even the seashore for the first time.

The contemporary jeweler and educated gemologist, Nicolas Varney, has been drawing since childhood. Shells and bark, coral and other curious natural objects, diamonds and colored gems, rare natural freshwater Mississippi, Colorado clam, abalone and conch pearls of all colors, shapes and sizes, precious beads and gold: today his emotionally charged designs come to life in sophisticated and whimsical jewels. Never building an idea for a future piece around any specific stone, first he creates the design in drawings and then seeks the perfect materials to fulfil it, using nature and juxtapositions as the main source of inspiration and driving force for his singular creations.

Multitalented sculptor Henri Laurens often found additional outlets for creativity: collages, posters, book illustrations. He even participated in the most unusual, multidisciplinary project, working with a group of artists on Sergei Diaghilev’s ballet “Le Train Bleu”: the scenario was written by Jean Cocteau, Laurens created the set, Darius Milhaud wrote the music, Coco Chanel designed the costumes, and Pablo Picasso supplied a painting for the curtain.

Laurens’ feminine and moody sculpture “Seated Woman”, which I have paired with Nicholas Varney’s warm-colored earrings in peach garnet, diamond and agate, was created at a time when Laurens had started moving away from Cubism towards more classical shapes, graceful curves and volume. This has been perceived by art historians as a longing for stability after the damage done by World War I, and in opposition to the supposedly effete and overly sophisticated present.

The round shape of Nicholas Varney’s earrings softly merges with the feminine curves of the textured sculpture. The tranquility and undisguised nude womanliness of the crouching clay figure, the circular shapes and curves of her body, come into perfect balance with the delicate garnet and diamond circles, offset by a few bold strokes of agate. A gentle ode to Woman as the focal point of the circle of life.

Two different artists. Two different artistic disciplines. One – universal – beauty.

THE JEWELRY ICON

A STORY WORTH TELLING: JOSEPHINE AND NAPOLEON IN CHAUMET’S EXHIBITION AT 12 VENDÔME

THEIR ROYAL FAVOR TOWARDS MAISON CHAUMET LINKED THE IMPERIAL JEWELER TO THEIR (EXTRA)ORDINARY LOVE STORY, AND TO THE HISTORY OF FRANCE

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The eagerly-awaited spring in Paris is about to witness an extraordinary event: not only the return of warmth and sun to the city of romance, but also an exceptional exhibition: “Joséphine et Napoléon, une histoire (extra)ordinaire”, an ode to the passionate and tender, turbulent and deep, fleeting and profound royal love and life of these two magnificent historical figures, and an inspired way to commemorate the bicentennial of Napoleon’s death.

The path of the royal couple first crossed with François-Regnault Nitot, son of the founder of Maison Chaumet Marie-Étienne Nitot, in 1805 in Milan, where Napoleon and Josephine were preparing to be crowned King and Queen of Italy.

Josephine was astounded by Nitot’s work, and he was appointed her favored jeweler. In turn, the modern and free, elegant and strong-willed, splendid and powerful Empress, who reinvented royal style and fashion, has remained for more than two centuries Chaumet’s muse.

Tiaras, aigrettes, laurel and oak leaves – symbols of power borrowed from Antiquity, sentimental jewelry featuring colored stones spelling out the names of her children, Eugène and Hortense, gold, pearls, diamonds and colored gems, joyful and elegant, bold and innovative combinations reflect the Empress’s unique personality, femininity and tender maternal love.

Napoleon himself looked at jewelry from a highly political perspective. During the French Revolution, the French crown jewels had been destroyed. When Napoleon declared himself the Emperor, one of his aims was to return to himself and his family the sumptuous royal aura of majesty. To that end, he requested that Nitot should create a new gold coronation crown, designed in the style of the ancient crown of France – the Crown of Charlemagne – a clear demonstration of Bonaparte’s identification with Charlemagne, or Charles the Great (King of the Franks, King of the Lombards, and Emperor of the Romans) destroyed during the French Revolution, along with a new set of crown jewels.

Napoleon also revived the tiara as a symbol of imperial power. This fashionable and majestic instrument of displaying dominance and authority became a trend that spread across Europe’s aristocracy.

In her research, jewelry historian Diana Scarisbrick mentions that Napoleon authorized the removal of over eighty cameos and intaglios from the state collection of the Cabinet des Médailles which were then nested in a set of tiara, necklace, belt and bracelets designed for the Empress, but which, due to the abundance of precious stones, proved to be too heavy for her to wear. Yet, as Diana tells in her research, Josephine found other ways to enjoy this magnificent parure: taking it from the jewelry box and discussing its splendor with close friends.

The story of Napoleon and Josephine is the story of a marriage, which was not well received by Napoleon’s family, since Josephine was six years older and a widow with two children. It’s the story of Napoleon being crazy in love with Josephine, time and again proved by the passionate letters he wrote to her during their separation as he was leading the French army into Italy. It’s the story of Josephine rarely writing back to him, and when she did, it was with lukewarm and less than enthusiastic responses. It’s the story of Josephine’s affair with Hippolyte Charles, a lieutenant in the Hussar regiment, which cooled Napoleon’s love for her. It’s the story of Napoleon’s subsequent affair with Pauline Fourès – “Napoleon’s Cleopatra” – and his other affairs, as well as his famous statement “Power is my mistress”.

“Joséphine et Napoléon, une histoire (extra)ordinaire” will feature over 150 exhibits: pieces of jewelry, paintings and other works of art, along with examples of correspondence and illustrated documents, from the historical collection of Maison Chaumet, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Musée de l’Armée, Archives Nationales, Fondation Napoléon, Musée du Louvre, Château de Fontainebleau, Musée National des Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Musée Masséna, Musée Carnavalet, Fondation Dosne-Thiers, as well as loans from private collectors.

The exhibition will be open from 10 April to 12 June 2021, at the salons of Maison Chaumet at 12 Vendôme, Paris.

THE JEWELRY ICON

COLLABORATION CARVED IN STONE: SUZANNE SYZ & MATTHEW LUTZ-KINOY

COLORED MARBLE AND ONYX MASKS AS MISCHIEVOUS DISPLAYS OF WHIMSICAL JEWELRY.

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Serious pieces with a sense of humor and feminine touch: jewelry by Suzanne Syz is anything but conservative.

Ultimate luxury fused with a mixture of both traditional and unconventional materials which allows greater freedom of size, form and palette, coupled with the outstanding technical knowledge, material mastery and artistry of Suzanne’s Geneva-based team, and topped with imaginative flair taken to extremes.

Colorful and ironic, temperamental and lighthearted, complex and chic, Suzanne’s designs are a product of exceptional creativity, intelligence and refined taste, as well as remarkable attention to detail. Her creations effuse color and sensuality, freedom and joy. They defy the ordinary.

Suzanne, who is an art collector herself, breathes love into each and every one of her unique pieces. It’s not that she doesn’t take things seriously. She does—but always with a smile. A beautiful smile.

Suzanne has created more than a thousand inimitable pieces. The symbolic culmination of her jewelry journey—before she decided to switch her focus to organic winemaking—is this final artistic collaboration with Matthew Lutz-Kinoy which sums up 20 years’ work and her love for jewelry.

Over the past few years, Suzanne has invited a selection of contemporary artists and friends to re-envision in the form of sculpture some of the conservative ways jewelry is displayed. Her former collaborations—“Dorayaki” by John Armeleder, “Frozen Yogurt” by Alex Israel, “Magnifying” by Sylvie Fleury, and “Dino Runes” by Kerstin Bratsch—have now been complemented by five colored marble and onyx masks, created by Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, which he calls “A Spear of Summer Grass”, after Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself”.

The orifices, curves and nooks of the masks serve as vessels and carriers for Suzanne’s jewels, while her jewels in turn serve as means of self-actualization for the masks, complementing and interplaying with each other.

The theatrical marble displays are expressive and dynamic, changing with the source and angle of light, simultaneously changing the pieces of jewelry displayed on—and in—them as they go through the flow of transformation.

Each piece of jewelry changes its appearance and purpose depending on the way it is placed on the masks: in the mouth or the eye socket, under the eye, on the ear.

The narrative constructed by the interlacing and synchronization of the two art forms is physically and intellectually immersive. The freedom of interpretation and exploration yielded by this amusing, interdisciplinary collaboration, is infinite.

THE JEWELRY ICON

HAUTE HORLOGERIE ON A PAR WITH SURGERY: NEW VERSIONS OF THE ICONIC CHANEL J12 WATC

ARNAUD CHASTAINGT, DIRECTOR OF CHANEL’S WATCHMAKING CREATION STUDIO, REWORKS THE LEGENDARY WATCH WITH SURGICAL PRECISION

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Illustration by Ellie Rahim

Indeed, it does sound like surgery. To create the new version of the Chanel J12 watch – and making the most of Chanel’s black and white hallmark – two single-colored (one black, one white) extremely hard, scratch-proof ceramic cases are produced, then cut and combined to form the Paradoxe watch,  

Hand-crafted at Chanel’s atelier in Switzerland, the name of the watch dates back to the year 2000. Jacques Hélleu, Chanel’s artistic director for almost three decades, named it after the 12-meter J-class racing yachts. When this black, ceramic watch, characterized by distinctive, minimalist, pure lines, first came to life, it revolutionized the watch world: both haute horlogerie and casual timepieces. This luxury watch changed the whole concept of luxury watches.  

The re-creation of famous, distinctive watches is anything but simple.

In 2013, when Arnaud Chastaingt joined Chanel’s Watchmaking Creation Studio, he was faced with a colossal dilemma: to create a new watch from scratch, or to remake the iconic J12 version, which—paradoxically—was a much more complex and ambitious task than working from zero.  

As a result, he reworked a whopping 70 per cent of the original components, which—again, paradoxically—yielded a subtle, modern result. The philosophy behind the remaking this legendary watch was a harmonious yet strong-willed evolution rather than abrupt revolution, with discreet aesthetic changes and advances. This reflects Mr Chastaingt’s personality and style: deliberately keeping a low profile and staying away from the spotlight, preferring that people talk about his creations rather than about him.  

Unisex, elegant and timeless, the reworked J12 will pave the way for future developments in the world of high jewelry and watchmaking.  

Among other recent horological creations from Chanel, my favorites are Code Coco, released in 2017, and Monsieur de Chanel, launched in 2016.  

In the dynamic and bold Code Coco, Arnaud Chastaingt manages to find the right balance between past and future. With a touch of retro, this streamlined, sophisticated and delicately luxurious timepiece does not look at all old or ‘historic’.  

Monsieur de Chanel was the brand’s first watch to be created with men in mind. Understated yet super-elegant, not overdesigned nor excessively extravagant, it’s slick, powerful and manly, but not over the top. This is a watch I would wear myself. The perfect reflection of Coco Chanel’s inimitable advice for stylish women and classy men: ‘It is always better to be underdressed.’

Underdressed, in the world of Chanel, stands for elegant and elite.

Illustration by Ellie Rahim

THE JEWELRY ICON

AMAZONIA BAMBOO JEWELRY BY SILVIA FURMANOVICH: THE EXQUISITE ELEGANCE OF NATURE

IN HER NEW COLLECTION, AS AN ARTIST WHO LOOKS INTO THE VERY HEART OF THINGS, SILVIA FURMANOVICH DELVES DEEP INTO THE ESSENCE AND PHILOSOPHY OF BAMBOO

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Illustration by Chris Gambrell

For true art, whether sculpture or painting, jewelry or perfumery, there is no such thing as ‘inappropriate’, ‘unconventional’, or ‘not precious enough’.  

It’s not—at least, not only—gold and diamonds which make jewelry both couture and exclusive. It is also the muse of the artist, the imagination of the designer, the mastery of the goldsmith, and the craftsmanship of all the other experts involved in the lengthy process, from conception to creation of a chef-d’oeuvre, from a fuzzy image, shape or smell in the artist’s head to the unveiling of a finished masterpiece.  

This is especially true of the new Amazonia Bamboo collection by Silvia Furmanovich, a São Paulo designer, who found inspiration in her journey to Japan, where she discovered the centuries-old art of weaving bamboo into intricate knots and basketsm, and who transformed the miniaturized versions of those techniques, beautified with gems and gold, into unique pieces of jewelry.  

Bamboo is a pretty commonplace plant and an everyday building material and food product in South, East, and Southeast Asia. Who would have thought that building blocks and edibles could be turned into refined pieces of art? And yet, the flight of Silvia’s imagination, her bold visions and designs have elevated it to the realm of fine jewelry.  

Through the alchemic combination of daring designs, attention to detail, passion for ancient, traditional and innovative craftsmanship, styles and materials, love of travel and fresh interpretations of different cultures, Silvia creates unique and timeless pieces.  

It made me recallmember Serge Lutens’ sensual and revolutionary perfume Féminité du Bois—a philosophical and memorable mixture of Atlas cedar, cinnamon and clove, candied plum and pear, an elegant flash of violets, rose, orange blossom and earthly sandalwood, contemplative and tantalizing, dusty and dry, yet sophisticated and tender, symbolizing the duality of woman’s nature.                                                            

 

In her new collection, Silvia Furmanovich uses a mix of precious and semiprecious stones, pearls and metals, matching the shades of natural and colored bamboo: gold, diamond, citrine, tourmaline, garnet, emerald, jasper, amethyst and topaz, to elevate the value of this humble natural material, awakening a sense of warm, spicy yet delicate feminine refinement. Shapes, shades and smells that are often missed in the hectic routine of hurried and overcrowded lives.  

Although you might intuitively think otherwise, bamboo does not degrade quickly over time: the masterpieces of bamboo artists, exhibited in museums around the world, have lasted for centuries. Beyond that, light in weight and extremely strong and resilient, bamboo makes an ideal material for wearable jewelry.   The lines and shapes, the graceful woodiness and – when combined with the right stones and pearls, characteristic of Silvia Furmanovich – the balance between exquisite craftsmanship and pure beauty, rustic and, at the same time, gracefully elegant, makes this a unique and outstanding collection.  

The way perfume acts like a living creature, changing its behavior, revealing new notes and moods the longer it lingers on your skin, Silvia’s masterpieces, coming from the very core of the natural world, work together with your outfit, your mood and the essence of your feminine nature.

THE JEWELRY ICON

CARAMEL, EBONY, PEARLS AND GOLD: THE SWEET MELANCHOLY OF NICHOLAS VARNEY’S JEWELS

AUTUMN COLORS REVEAL ELEGANT GRACE IN AN EMOTIONAL RENDERING BY A TRUE ARTIST

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P. Picasso Maternite' (Mother and Child), 1963 Lithograph

It never rains in Nicholas Varney’s universe.

The soft, warm and earthy hues of his earrings and rings bring out the best in the melancholic and meditative palette of autumn.

Nicholas has been drawing since he was a child; now his designs come to life in sophisticated and whimsical jewels. Never building his ideas around specific stones, he first creates the design on paper and then seeks the perfect materials, using nature and juxtapositions as his main sources of inspiration and the driving force for his singular creations.

The jewelry pieces by this artist and educated gemologist carry a strong emotional charge: once they find the soul with whom they resonate, a strong transcendent, artistic bond is built.

 

In his earrings, Varney combines laconic, caramel candy-like bubbles of natural pearls with stripy agate, balanced with ebony wood—for a more solid, heavier, statement look—resembling joyful maracas that whisper a rhythm to the rustle of steps on dry, fallen leaves. Or a beautiful pestle for a magic mortar, in which you might grind and mix a pinch of cinnamon with a few seeds of autumn glamour.

The smooth, subtle pearls on the rings evoke memories of late berries, caught in the first frost: no longer edible, but so enchanting against the greyish air of the dusky and moody season that you can’t take your eyes off them.

Together, the colorful pearls, agate, ebony and gold come together in a light and fluent autumn waltz. A dance for the loving and for the beloved.

 

THE JEWELRY ICON

“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?

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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?

HOLDING YOUR AWE IN THEIR CLAWS : A CROW BROOCH BY ILGIZ

THE ART OF JEWELRY BEYOND DESIGN AND PERFECTION
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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.

#POMELLATOFORWOMEN : A LUXURY JEWELRY BRAND RAISING AWARENESS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

AT A TIME OF GLOBAL LOCKDOWNS, POMELLATO SPEAKS OUT ON BEHALF OF WOMEN AND GIRLS WHO HAVE OR WHO MAY BECOME VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE
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Hidden from public view, home is where we feel safe to be ourselves. But not for everyone. Under the cover of Covid-19, there has been a huge surge in domestic abuse. Terrible things have been happening behind closed doors, sealed even more tightly during these past few months because of mass lockdowns and quarantines.

Despite widespread and powerfully promoted gender equality, in many spheres of modern life women remain precariously vulnerable and unprotected.

For this reason, on November 25 – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – luxury jewelry brand Pomellato launched a social media and video campaign to raise awareness on domestic abuse.

Pomellato’s initiative is a tremendous breakthrough for luxury brands. Conceptually distant from the real world, submerged deep into the divine microcosm of art, design and unsoiled, supermundane beauty, they often appear to be dramatically detached from the facts of life.

And yet, who to support women and raise awareness of the hot-button gender issues better than a brand that stands for women, their freedom and independence.

With that in mind, in 2017 Pomellato founded the platform #PomellatoForWomen to promote gender equality and inclusivity.

And it shows no sign of letting up. Not until abuse and violence against women has stopped.

On MK Nuvola (Italian for ‘cloud’) rings, timeless beauty by Pomellato. Let us hope that the beautiful clouds stay in artistic realm – and we soon see the bright sun above our heads in real life…

LIKE A PHOENIX THEY RISE: FREDERIC MALLE PERFUME AND NAK ARMSTRONG’S EARRINGS

A SEDUCTIVE RETRO-VIBE SMELL THAT PLAYS IN TUNE WITH GEOMETRIC PINK OPAL EARPIECES
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It’s funny how memory sometimes plays games with our senses. A tone of voice, a smell, the perception of colors come together and build a multifaceted image in our heads. Sometimes we don’t even understand the reasons behind this, or remember why.

I was nudged to smell the Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose perfume by my seven-year old daughter, who was genuinely in love with it. To be honest, I was reluctant even to try it: the name, the notes, the very concept did not speak to me. But once I gave it a go, in a flash I knew: That’s my A.! This smell is all about her!   Lipstick Rose—a love-it-or-leave-it aromatic concoction of grapefruit and violet, sweet rose, iris and raspberry, sensuous and fluffy vanilla and white musk—was developed by one of Frederic Malle’s legendary perfumers, Ralf Schwieger, famous for his ability to create intellectual and intuitive perfumes with surprising personalities.

It’s a perfume that makes everyone sense something different. A time travel machine, for some, taking you back to your childhood home, secretly poking around the taboo contents of your mother’s dressing table, trying on her crimson red lipstick, playing at being a grown-up woman for the first time. The dressing room of a 50’s pin-up girl, with, luxuriant, shiny, dark hair, ruby-red lips, smouldering gaze and a killer smile. A go-to office perfume: indulgently sweet, dressy and sexy, but with a demure hint of ‘stay away’ attitude. The delicious allure of the divine Marilyn Monroe. The smell of semi-dark theatres. The ‘big girl’ perfume of real Divas, with a sense of humor and touch of modern irony. The gourmand, bottled essence of the X chromosome.

To balance its sweet, seductive force, I picked up a geometric, sophisticated creation by the extremely talented award-winning designer Nak Armstrong – his Nakard Phoenix sterling silver and opal earrings.   At the core of their modern mobile-like silhouette are the mosaic, repetitive, smooth pale pink cells, cascading down your earlobes and gently swaying with your every step—the pure manifestation of beauty and intellect, stripped of pomposity and cliché.

The modern retro Lipstick Rose smell makes its glorious return and complements with elegance the Phoenix earrings and the femininity of the present-day, ultimate woman.

THE JEWELRY ICON

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