“En el corazón de todo arte grandioso hay una melancolía esencial.
At the heart of all great art is an essential melancholy.”
Federico García Lorca
Portrait by Chris Gambrell_
At the end of April, I received a letter from Luz Camino—a Madrid-based jewelry designer and friend. She included a photograph of herself: a classy, beautiful woman wearing a light brim hat, sitting peacefully and elegantly on a wooden garden bench.
The bright spring day filled my own room, as I became immersed in the smells and sounds, felt the refreshing wind in my hair and light of the sun on my skin. Indeed, the very name of this amazing lady, radiating warmth, sophistication and soft luminescence, means ‘light’.
Madrid, April 30th, 2020
It is truly kind of you to think about me and my family. We are all in good health, thank God. I trust that you and your family are equally well. Hopefully, we will all manage to get through these difficult times we are living in the best way we can.
I must admit I felt privileged from day one. My dearest friend and partner invited me to seclude myself in his home outside Madrid, together with him and his Argentinian cousin who was visiting at the time and could not return home. It is a spacious house with a garden that allows us to stroll and breathe fresh air. We are like the Three Musketeers ready to have the best time possible.
Every morning, I read for a while in bed and jump out at nine to have breakfast in my robe and nightgown. We try to do so all three together.
After a few days locked up, we decided that we had to cooperate in a solidarity project and so we started making reusable masks to be distributed free of charge among nursing homes in Madrid, made with the fabric surplus donated by Neck & Neck – a children’s clothes brand. I have to say, my sewing machine has become my favorite object or fetish these days. My tool for helping others.
We dedicate several hours a day to sewing the masks after breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have already delivered several hundred.
Not a day goes by where I do not do some exercise, for an hour or so. After working out, I get dressed and put on makeup as if I were invited out to lunch. I believe it is important to feel beautiful.
In the afternoon we play cards, canasta and crapette, very much fighting to win. At night, we watch a movie, a TV series or the news.
Aside from all these activities, I dedicate some time to work on jewelry designs. How could I not? I just finished a custom-made pair of earrings for a client through Moda Operandi and am developing my new collection that will be shown at Bergdorf Goodman at the end of the year.
Every day I talk with my family as well – it’s a big one! – and with friends who are spending isolation on their own. We have group videocalls with my children and grandchildren, which is fun and helps us keep in touch. I also stay in touch with Ana, my assistant, and a thousand times more with my son Fernando who, as you know, works with me and is my greatest help and support.
He has been involved in my designs for a long time now and he is behind the conception of several pieces. He plays an essential role in the development of my work and I am so happy to see that he shares my vision when it comes to jewelry, knowing that he will be able to follow in my footsteps. As you can imagine, after my telling you all of this, the days feel rather short and there has not been a single one where I felt bored or tired of isolation.
Sad, however, unfortunately yes, because as a result of this terrible pandemic, we have lost dear friends that I shall never forget. I hope, dear Maria, that you are taking good care of yourselves. Personally, I cannot wait to work full time again soon so that I can go back to collaborating with the great team of craftsmen who give life to my designs.
FIVE STRANDS OF AN EXTRAORDINARY AND RARE STUNNER
Some creations belong to no one. Like our children, each with their own unique individuality.
Some things can never be forgotten. Like this exquisite necklace, flawless and pure.
Here is one of my favorite portrait paintings by Chris Gambrell. Hiding under a swaddling cloth is my newborn son, just a few weeks old, who also has skin like an angel.
Around my neck is the one-of-a-kind, divine Hemmerle necklace: five strands of pale-blush, ancient and extremely rare angel skin coral, complemented by diamonds and rose gold. So rare, in fact, that it took several decades for the jewelers of Hemmerle to collect the necessary amount of coral, simultaneously making sure that the beads all match in texture, tone and color, a faultless achievement of balance and symmetry.
A moment of perfect harmony, balanced by two of nature’s most extraordinary gifts: one in my arms and the other wrapped around my neck…
THE AIRY, SCULPTURAL, HYPNOTIC CREATION—LIKE A PENDULUM, WHICH WILL ALWAYS RETURN TO EQUILIBRIUM, HOWEVER DRAMATIC THE DISPLACEMENT
The somewhat uneasy look in her eyes is wondering what happens next, but the aura of the painting is serene—like the rhythmical ticking of a metronome, which looks so much like the Rocket earrings, in gold, jade, tourmaline and white diamonds, by a gloriously Brazilian designer Fernando Jorge.
The harmony of the delicate design, the inherent movement and intimate energy, the contemporary aesthetics, the magnetic elegance of these infinity circles turn them into a sensual, asymmetrical yet perfectly balanced pendulum.
Beauty is everywhere, and this realization is soul-healing.
WHAT RESOURCES FOR INSPIRATION AND MOTIVATION CAN BE FOUND AT HOME?
The hour of and-what-if-nothing-remains-after-us.
The hollow hour.
The very pit of all other hours.
No one feels good at four in the morning.
The ominous picture painted by the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska: four in the morning, the hour of ghosts, the hour which is neither early nor late—the bizarre hour.
But not everyone dislikes and avoids this mystical time of the day.
An artist’s home at 4.30 in the morning. Everyone is fast asleep. Or wait: someone is awake—and painting!
Chris Gambrell (@gambrell_) – a striking fashion illustrator and portraitist from Bristol, UK.
The soft strokes and bright, mellow colors of his paintings got me thinking: what is his secret to keeping the inner peace in anxious times like this? How does he keep his imagination and motivation quarantine-free when the whole world is practicing one or another form of isolation?
Enter Chris’ home, look around, dive into his daily routine and listen to his stories:
For me, the art of staying at home is getting up three hours before everybody else.
Secretly, I have enjoyed being able to get up at 4:30 every morning, with hot oats and a cup of English breakfast tea, followed by a neat, strong espresso. I work best at that time of day. The fresh, impressionable early-morning brain deals well with creativity, and I am able to put down the landmarks, which inspire me to produce more.
Since my work is affected by my mood, I have a routine of warmups to get me to the right mental place. This is often short-timed drawings on a page divided into small panels, something which I do not ‘treasure’ too much. I can then produce quality work and draw carefree until the first signs of activity.
With homeschool in session, me and the kids do a thirty-minute workout every day just before lunch and then try our best to replenish energy with some fresh nutrients.
Having the kids around keeps things fast and light, and the day soon nears evening. After a heavier meal prepared more thoughtfully than usual—because the cooking process has to be taken back a stage or two, depending on product availability,—the kids head to bed, and I can get on with working.
What’s been fascinating is seeing all of the different learning and working processes together in one place, weaving around one another; how we cut up the house to allocate zones for leisure, work and learning.
For me, it’s been an eye-opener: to reimagine spaces for different purposes. Now more than ever, the space in which I work has countless additional demands on it, and the day itself has to be cut into chunks, with time factored in for setting up, cleaning, workouts, making sure the kids are occupied and everybody’s happy.
The notice boards around the house have just had the whimsical jokes and long-term games erased and removed. Overnight, timetables and incentive charts took their place. For how long, who knows.
It’s taken a week or two to establish the new normality. We do what we have to do to ensure that we and others are safe and to ‘damage-limit’.
But, take five very busy lives, all with very different goals and needs, and squish them into the same place at the same time ‘all of the time’—and the need for routine becomes king.
Being aware of what is happening focuses and distracts me at the same time. But we have to carry on, and I choose to try and read the headlines and news in a more objective, fact-based way, trying not to dwell emotionally.
Eye-catching rainbow jewelry by Luisa Alexander also has something refreshing to say. And this word is: happy. Besides being very practical, fitting every style and clothing palette, rainbow jewelry is the ultimate mood maker, keeping your spirits up and brightening your day.
Do not miss your rainbow catch at the Moda Operandi trunk show!
Let’s not reinvent the wheel—everything that’s good about love has already been described by Chaucer, Shakespeare and Poe, as well as Pablo Neruda in his Love Sonnet XI:
I hunger for your sleek laugh,your hands the color of a savage harvest, hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails, I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.
Yet the history of love has a dark side too. So here comes the bad about Valentine’s Day.
Although its origins are buried deep in the past, historians presume that it was started by (pretty much naked) ancient Romans celebrating the feast of Lupercalia on February 13–15: sacrificing animals and whipping women with their hides, while young women willingly lined up for this questionable ritual, believing in its fertility-bringing power. The name of the modern day of love may have also come from ancient Rome, where Emperor Claudius II executed two men named Valentine on February 14, whose martyrdom was subsequently honored by the Church with St. Valentine’s Day.
Hopefully (though this is arguable), people today are much less bloodthirsty and more chill and prefer tokens of love to being whipped with the hide of a sacrificial animal. So here comes the last—and the most beautiful—part of our Valentine’s story: the jewelry.
Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to remember the wonderful and unrivaled YOU, along with the beauty incarnated in gorgeous jewelry pieces by exceptional designers and artists. Charms and necklaces: heart, lips, coins, keys to your heart in yellow, white and pink gold, titanium, rhodium, diamonds, multicolor sapphires, rubies, tourmalines, corundums, enamel, quartz, ebony and pearls—everything your heart was longing for, and much, much more.
Chocolate will taste sweet for a moment, while jewelry will last for ages. An old proverb says: “Love is a collaborative work of art”. And as we know now through modern medicine: love is obsession, manifesting at the chemical level and showing at brain scans. So why not surrender to the sweet, innocent obsession with jewelry on this Day of Love and surround yourself with these vibrant pieces of art.
This day is about you.
Treat your loved one and yourself with a precious heart from the gorgeous selection at the Moda Operandi trunk show. A heart that is extremely hard to break.
‘I like to make pieces that defy the ordinary, otherwise it’s no fun’, says Suzanne. This is what her jewelry is about. The iconic Smarties necklace, the bucolic fruit basket, Space Age rocket and ‘Warholic’ tomato soup can earrings, the car tire bracelet: it takes supreme levels of creativity, intelligence, refined taste, skill, mastery of materials and attention to detail to make those creations – which might sound pop and kitsch – look so sophisticated, expensive and haute couture, attracting aristocratic and elite clientele.
An art collector herself, Suzanne breathes love ; smile into her creations. High jewelry is no longer restricted to strict, ultraclassical shapes and styles. Smart, witty and far from drama, Suzanne is a perfect model for her own jewelry: serious pieces with a very feminine touch, and the right sense of humor. They are always unique and somewhat ahead of fashion.
Suzanne’s Wrap It Up Limited Edition earrings in aluminum and gold, are set with diamonds, sit next to the Ed Ruscha’s snowy mountaintops, standing out against yellowish-indigo skies, with a large ‘Pay Nothing Until April’ print in Boy Scout Utility Modern (or ‘no style’, as he himself referred to it) font, invented by the artist. Nothing like the flat terrain where the artist grew up, the landscape was most likely borrowed from a souvenir postcard. ‘Wrap It Up’ earrings are available online on TheRealReal (Please follow up by clicking on the image).
‘It’s not a celebration of nature’, says Ed Ruscha. ‘I’m not trying to show beauty. It’s more like I’m painting ideas of ideas of mountains.’ The dispassionate approach to this otherwise romantic scenery, the sloganesque language of the print makes his paintings—now selling for millions—resemble consumerist posters in the window of a travel agency.
Both artists’ creations, eccentric and elegantly witty, may be self-explanatory on the outside, but carry a deeper meaning on the inside. Or do they?
Life is about so many things, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy the art of humor.
ADMIRE the artworks of two amazing women: Silvia Furmanovich—an unparalleled, daring Brazilian jewelry designer, and Helene Schjerfbeck—a bold, revolutionary Finnish portraitist. Coming from different parts of the world and historical epochs, their pieces synthesize in an anthem to a beautiful, spirited and progressive woman.
A woman who will always be an inspiration, no matter the time and place on Earth…
Silvia Furmanovich is a unique phenomenon in the world of jewelry. Her eloquent masterpieces arouse more than the sense of vision: you can smell the fresh and autumnal leaves, rainforests, the deep woodiness and the light grassiness; you can hear the rustle of dry branches under the soft paws of wild animals, the airy breath of the wind under butterfly’s wings, the soft sound of wind chimes. You can almost taste it: the alluring precious stones melting on your tongue like delicious, colorful drops of candy, counterbalanced by sweet and salty, woody licorice. And you sure can touch it: the natural shapes, brought to life by Silvia’s imagination and the Nature herself, the geometric lines and the soft curvatures, the perfectly balanced substance and lightness.
Inspired by nature and transformed into inimitable masterpieces, balancing somewhere in between delicate and powerful, feminine and bold, with the most unexpected combinations of marquetry, precious metals and stones, miniature paintings on wood, seashells and even mushrooms, these designs are strong, noticeable, full of color and life. Butterflies, birds, sceneries, flowers, ornaments: the designer with an open mind and heart has travelled the world in search of inspiration and skills that would bring her collections to the peak of creation, ready to see, absorb and treasure the gems of the natural world, the skills and wisdom of modern and ancient cultures and indigenous artisans.
The three pieces, worn by a charismatic young lady of Helene Schjerfbeck, are marquetry landscape fan earrings (gold, light brown diamonds and green tourmaline), botanical marquetry cuff (gold and diamonds), and marquetry red leaf fan earrings (gold, prasiolite and light brown diamond).
As mesmerizing as they are, they represent only a miniscule part of the Silvia Furmanovich’s collection. Much more of this sensual beauty is available for all your five senses at the Moda Operandi trunk show.
THE JEWELRY ICON
I’ve selected my favorite pieces from Chanel’s Coromandel collection.
Coco Chanel said that when she looked at her Coromandel screens in the evening she saw doors opening and knights setting off on horseback. When I look at this jewelry in the morning I see Spring in the Loire Valley, or even Provence.
The motifs so dear to Coco Chanel are reworked beautifully in these gems. I’ve selected a few very special pieces from Chanel’s Coromandel collection for this post. They are a mesmerizing blend of the architectural, art deco, contemporary and they also say Spring has sprung!
The Fleur de Nacre and Horizon Lointain earrings are, and I use this word carefully, unique. The mineral theme of Horizon Lointain ring has the same well balanced design and the Vibration Minerale pieces are so playful and, well, alive. They hum with life. A beautiful blend of timeless savoir-faire of the Chanel Fine Jewelry workshop with the vigour of youth.
THE JEWELRY ICON
Blending art and technology to evoke the perfect beauty of nature.
So often when I was a little girl (and even not so little!) I would take little flowers and examine every petal and color, tying them around my finger or placing them in my hair. Of course, the flower would always fade, but Boucheron has made the dream of such floral jewelry perfection come true with their collection “Nature Triomphante” – capturing the beauty of flowers’ utmost realism.
The technique used to render these pieces leverages some of our most advanced technology – it’s a wonder, really, how much hard science these soft, beautiful pieces depend on. Each piece is modeled after a real flower, with the bloom cycle of each studied closely to determine them at their most luxurious and opulent. From there, each petal and pistil was scanned four times by an MRI scanner before being placed on an exact, 3D-printed titanium mold of each piece and covered with a velvety lacquer.
The result is both stunning and titanium-strong. Each piece has been extensively tested and the flowers are fully stable, captured at their high point of beauty and bloom. It’s the culmination of two years of work on the part of Claire Chosen [Creative Director of Boucheron] and her team & time spent developing flower stabilization techniques and executing the overall concept.
The collection of rings is absolutely timeless, both a show-stopper and subtle in its remarkable natural beauty!
Special thanks to artist Hakan for his incredible illustration we commissioned for this article – it captures the elegance of the collection perfectly. Hake Arblom @inkycubans
THE JEWELRY ICON
I am quite obsessed by color, but my passion is a moveable feast and at any point in my life there is always one hue that preoccupies me more than any other. I dress in it, collect images in it and it usually finds my way into my make-up bag, too.
Right now, I am going through a brick-red phase, and I think these cool, never-before published sketches from @lityart showcase the color beautifully. And they are also a fantastic canvas for de Grisgono’s stand-out gorgeous High Jewelry.
THE JEWELRY ICON
Dior’s latest Grand Bal Miss Dior watch collection brings together the gentle beauty of Dior’s flowers and the timeless luxury of the timepiece brand.
The Dior Grand Bal collection has recently unveiled two new pieces inspired by the magic and beauty of flowers.
These two new “Dior Grand Bal Miss Dior” timepieces are equipped with the unique “Dior Inversé 11 1/2” caliber, which features an oscillating weight placed on top of the dial. For these pieces, per the floral theme, they embellished with beautiful flower petals.
With this movement, the weight and the dial take on the allure of a blossoming flower – one in shades of pink recalling the joy of spring, and the second in blue tones echoing the nighttime reflection of moonlight on petals.
These light floral motifs are set off with sparkling diamonds on the bezel. These 3D effect petals give life to the timepiece and evoke the charms of Christian Dior’s famed garden. The matching strap lining and pink or blue sapphire crystal case-backs are final, personal details only known to the wearer.
These two pieces are a fine tribute to Monsieur Dior’s passion for flowers as well as the famous “Miss Dior” dress, one of the Maison’s first Haute Couture dresses. They are available in a limited edition of 88 pieces.
THE JEWELRY ICON
DIOR WATCHES: INTRODUCING THE DIOR VIII MONTAIGNE CLAIRE DE LUNE
Inspired by the different phases of the moon, these three additions to the Dior VIII Montaigne collection take time pieces to the celestial heavens. The lunar patterns are exquisitely drawn on the dial with gold threads and diamonds, and the result is extremely cool. My absolute favorite? The filigreed elegance of the crescent model.This is an amazing marriage of craftsmanship with technical innovation. What a fine tribute to Monsieur Dior’s passion for the starry firmament.
Set off with a black alligator strap with a yellow gold prong buckle set with round diamonds, the watches are available in a limited edition of 88 pieces.
THE JEWELRY ICON
Sometimes you fall in love with something and just can’t shake it – which is what happened to me with these splendid earrings.
I’ve been waiting for this earrings while they’ve traveled all around the world with their designer, and I’ll finally receive them in January. [ Materials: Rose & black gold aquamarine]
Since I was so enchanted, I figured I would ask Federica Rettore where she got the inspiration for these, but her answer intrigued me even further! “Eleganza e leggerezza ispirati alle onde che si rifrangono sulla battigia e portano tesori in superficie dalle profondità del mare.” – I started to translate this into English but realized how difficult it would be to translate such poetry.
The Italian language definitely has its “fascino” (charm), and it’s no wonder that the language has its share of admirers. But here’s my best effort at describing her inspiration: “Elegance and lightness inspired by waves that refract on the shoreline and bring the treasures from the bottom of the sea to the surface.
“Still, not satisfying. Federica is a poet of words and jewels. Her pieces make me daydream. We are lucky to have so many talented young artists around us. As far as Federica goes, her pieces are all handmade in Italy, one of a kind, and can be engraved just for you. Feel free to reach out for more information.
THE JEWELRY ICON