FOR BOHEMIANS, DREAMERS, MODERATE SCEPTICS AND PASSIONATE BELIEVERS: ASHEVILLE BY DAVID WEBB

November09Jewelry in Art

NEW FLORAL COLLECTION IN GOLD, ENAMEL AND MOUTH-WATERING, COLORFUL GEMS

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In a small city on the scenic American East Coast – spiced up by fun murals, hipster coffee shops, the vibrant River Arts District where former factory buildings became home to artists’ studios and the Downtown Art District, populated with galleries and museums – a legend was born.

Asheville, nicknamed the “Paris of the South”, is a charming oasis of chill bohemian vibe and artistic coziness. Back in the 1980s, residents fought hard to keep its atmosphere as an artisan city, with unique style and architecture, small local stores and restaurants, in opposition to building a large shopping mall which would have required demolishing an authentic area of 11-blocks.

This eclectic city also happens to be the hometown of David Webb – a prominent American jeweler and founder of an eponymous luxury jewelry house – where he started his education in jewelry-making and grew fond of lavish, blooming gardens.

New fine jewelry collection named after Asheville: eight exceptional floral pieces (pendant necklace, drop earrings, cuff bracelets, choker, and an open-band ring), designed in two distinctive palettes – fresh, pink opals with rubies, emerald beads, turquoise and diamonds, and serene, blue chalcedony with sapphires, turquoise and diamonds. The distinctive 18-karat gold chains and white enamel, present in both colorways, make it easy to combine the jewels and weld them together.

It is tempting to search Asheville’s gardens and Blue Ridge Mountains for the wildflowers which have inspired David Webb’s designers. There, you can find rhododendrons, flame azaleas, mountain laurels, and Turk’s cap lilies. Curiously, the house says that the new collection’s floral motif has no direct analog in nature but, rather, is an archetypical, stylized flower, easily recognized across continents, epochs and cultures.

The jewelry house’s co-owner and creative director Mark Emanuel acknowledges that now is the right time to come back to “flower power”, with its intrinsic ideas of invigorating beauty, peace and optimism.

A gulp of fresh air, spring in the midst of winter’s approach, the delicate, light pink and pale blue flowers are supported by unique, weighty and supple chains – a combination of strength, dreaminess and femininity, marked with characteristic design elements: bold colors, lively enamel and carved hardstones.

So, here it is: the new Ashville collection by David Webb, a quintessence of light, charm and hope.

A MODERN TAKE ON OLD TRADITION: ANCIENT EGYPT BY SILVIA FURMANOVICH

THE LATEST HIGH JEWELRY COLLECTION ‘EGYPT’ BY AN INIMITABLE BRAZILIAN DESIGNER IS AT THE ABSOLUTE INTERSECTION OF OLD AND NEW

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To take something as ancient and profound as the history and artefacts of the millennia-old civilization and to present it in new light, suitable and wearable for our modern times, is not a task for the faint of heart.

This time, Silvia Furmanovich – a São Paulo designer who travels the world over in search of inspiration and unique places, diving into local cultures and meeting local craftspeople – drew her creative power from the very cradle of civilization.

In January, Silvia and her son Andrey spent a month exploring Egypt, its history, architecture, ancient monuments and relics, lush landscape, archaeological sites and remote villages, such as the Siwa Oasis – one of Egypt’s most isolated settlements, whose inhabitants have developed an unique desert culture and whose distinctive houses are built from karsheef (blocks of clay and salt).

In the markets of Cairo, she asked stone carvers to sculpt jewels from locally sourced gemstones: lapis lazuli, turquoise and jasper, envisaging their mesmerizing splendor in her future collection. In Luxor, which is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, she commissioned artisans to paint miniatures on stones, which were later set in the earrings.

Egypt has been an inspiration for jewelry artists for eons, and it remains their muse today.  “The meaning of jewelry was so important to ancient Egyptians; it was powerful, it was protection, and it was buried with them.”, said Silvia to Town & Country magazine. And she felt compelled to tell its story.

Up to the present day, Silvia Furmanovich, born in Brazil to a line of Italian goldsmiths, has been mastering, developing and searching for techniques and materials new and old, and this jewelry collection is the culmination of many years’ work and research.

Silvia creates her one-of-a-kind pieces through the alchemic combinations of daring designs, a passion for ancient, traditional and innovative craftsmanship, styles and materials, and her original interpretations of cultures. This year, she took the time and creative energy she needed to find, deconstruct and reconstruct the rich and mysterious ancient art, symbols, materials and meanings – and present them in a fresh light in her new Egyptian collection, a rich range of pieces: each uniquely different, all unparalleled, but, through Silvia’s creative genius, still part of one amazing artistic family.

A series of earrings within the collection have been inspired by the capitals of Egyptian columns, such as these Lotus Earrings in gold, diamonds and marquetry, which resemble the sacred lotus flower that blooms on many parts of Egyptian architecture. These pieces will appeal especially to strong, artistic personalities with an eye for timeless beauty.

ARCHITECTURE, LACE AND JEWELRY IN A DAZZLING EBLOUISSANTE SET BY CHANEL

IT’S ALL THERE: SLENDER, GOTHIC LINES, DELICATE, AIRY LACING AND EXCEPTIONAL PRECIOUS STONES

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Architectural and delicate, modern and ethnic, the Eblouissante set of high jewelry from the Escale à Venise collection by Chanel is everything you would have expected from the legendary luxury fashion house – and plenty more.

The combination of pink gold and platinum in tandem with flawless diamonds brings to mind intricate, hand-made embroidery and the gothic architecture of Venice: nuanced lace-like tiles, atmospheric windows and an aura of remarkable lightness, all obtained through the uncontestable artistry of medieval architects, engineers and builders.

The geometrically-set diamond cubes and rectangles are arranged like multiple openings and spaces in the mosaic of Venetian architecture. Frames of rose gold and platinum support refreshing ice-cubes of crystal-clear diamonds as a metaphor for dainty windows, letting fresh air into the twilight of cool, historical buildings. The gemstones are set in a precise, well-measured manner, creating an impression of lightness, lucidity, balanced elegance and refined poshness – qualities characteristic of Chanel from the very beginnings of the house.

The nature of lace has inspired architects to finesse detail, romanticism and mystery, playing with filigree light and energizing shadows in their creations from time immemorial, and continues to do so to this day. Lace-like town halls, churches and cathedrals possess qualities of airiness and tactility, making them more familiar to townies, almost like a second skin.

In the 1930s, Coco Chanel herself underwent a so-called “romantic” period, during which she widely employed lace, tulle and chiffon, accentuating the natural curves of a woman’s body, often using classic black to counterbalance the romantic quality of those materials and turn them into seductive gowns.

In the Escale à Venise collection and especially in the Eblouissante set, Patrice Leguéreau, Director of the Chanel Jewelry Creation Studio, offers her own contemporary interpretation of Gabrielle Chanel’s vision of Venice – always one of her favorite destinations.

Translated from the French as ‘dazzling’, the light and sculptural, ethnic and modern Eblouissante set lives up to its name – and way beyond it.

FEMININE FUTURISM BY FABIO SALINI

LUSCIOUS TITANIUM GRAPES FOR THE EARS OF A BOLD, MODERN GODDESS

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"Creating is an emotional process, so inspiration
can come from whatever touches your soul or
particularly catches your eyes: a color, a texture,
an architectural detail, a painting, a picture, a sunset."

"Fashion and jewelry might seem superficial
in these times, but our job is made of creativity
and passion which are an expression of love,
and love is what all of us want."

Fabio Salini

The blue and purple earrings by Fabio Salini are a contemporary poem to extraordinary women, inspirational art and mighty technology. Their massive size is counterbalanced by their component material: light and sturdy titanium, used widely in space and marine engineering because of its resistance to corrosion, fatigue and cracking, and tolerance for high temperatures.

Titanium is not the only unconventional material employed by the modernist Roman jeweler and designer. Other-worldly and futuristic, many of his creations feature unusual ingredients: natural objects like horns and eggs, bamboo and straw, non-precious components like rope and leather, industrial elements like copper thread, even carbon fiber – a high-tech, space-age, immensely strong, deep black material that adds a touch of a mystic, deep-space void and impenetrability to his intelligently engineered, ultra-modern and architectural, geometrical and delicate, voluminous and elaborate creations.

Trained in geology and gemology, Fabio Salini worked at the jewelry and watchmaking moguls Cartier and Bulgari where he developed his unique, eclectic, modern and imaginative style which earned him international fame and awards. Starting with his own collection which Salini presented to the world in 1999, he has been using new forms and unusual combinations of materials, looking for inspiration in contemporary art and artistic collaborations, innovating and experimenting to modernize and galvanize the spirit of high jewelry and make it what he believes it is: an expression of art. “If you don’t change the rules, if you don’t dare, you don’t bring anything new into the world,” Fabio Salini explained his philosophy to Vogue

Disagreeing with the idea that a jewel is inherently a symbol of the wearer’s status, Fabio provides a new outlook on the relation between the monetary value of the jewel’s ingredients and its artistic, personal and emotional worth. In his interview with Vivienne Becker, he stresses that the true preciousness of a jewel has to be discovered, revealed slowly, understood profoundly and most of all cherished by the wearer. 

Massive, vivid and dramatic, the titanium semispheres of the blue and purple earrings catch the light and give back extraordinary breams of energy. Like powerful magnets, whose wild temper has been mitigated by their feminine, soft volumes, these deific mini-shields are meant to attract all the glances in the space around them.

Are you the modern goddess – avant-garde, bold and adventurous – ready for a mighty dose of attention? Then these bunches of futuristic grapes are for you! Enjoy their irresistible attraction.

WHITE IRIS DREAM BY ILGIZ

NATURE AND ART REUNITED IN A DELICATE AND EXPRESSIVE RING

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White Iris by Bliss Carman
 
 White Iris was a princess 
In a kingdom long ago, 
Mysterious as moonlight 
And silent as the snow. 

A subtle, sensual, powdery scent. Delicate, curly petals, twisting and curving lines. The rich verdure of pointy leaves. Rainbow-colored and white irises – the harbingers of early summer – shimmer on the horizon of high jewelry, brought to life by the infinite imagination and unrivalled mastery of Ilgiz.

In his trademark, colorful style, staying true to genuine artistry, aesthetics and creativity, weaving together the art and science of painting and sculpture, perspective and architecture, Ilgiz reproduces the delicacy and sophistication of the iris flower in a breathtaking, one-of-a-kind ring.

For Ancient Greeks, Iris was a messenger of the gods and goddess of the rainbow, carrying messages from the heavens down to earth on its iridescent arc. The iris also inspired the fleur-de-lis – a decorative symbol of French royalty, appearing on their coat of arms, shields and coins. To this day, purple iris remains a symbol of royalty and wisdom, blue iris is a symbol of hope, while white iris is a symbol of purity.

Whatever symbolism you attach to it, the iris remains the eponym of femininity, exotic grace and mysterious beauty. The fruit of a deep immersion into the secrets of the natural world, the White Iris Ring by Ilgiz Fazulzyanov captures every gradation of color, every nuance of mood, elicited by this dreamy and extravagant flower.

Van Gogh’s irises, painted in oil, light and soft and blue, and Ilgiz’s white irises, petals rendered in intricate enamel surrouning a shimmering opal. Both artists capture the emotion and beauty of this regal flower, immortalizing it for generations to come.

How kind that earth should treasure 
So beautiful a thing — 
All mystical enchantment, 
To stir our hearts in spring!

IRIS PETAL EARRINGS BY LUZ CAMINO: A GRACEFUL REMINDER THAT BEAUTY IS EVERYWHERE

THE VISIONARY JEWELRY DESIGNER INVITES US TO MARVEL AT EVERY STAGE OF THE CIRCLE OF LIFE

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Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.

Audrey Hepburn

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

 

The one-of-a-kind Green and Purple Iris Petal Earrings in plique-à-jour enamel, green apatite or amethyst, diamonds, platinum, silver and gold, were carefully handmade in Spain, where the sweltering sun gives birth, tenderly nurtures and ruthlessly burns the finest flowers.

The designer of this piece of art is Luz Camino, a Madrid-based Spanish jewelry designer. She’s an amazing lady, radiating warmth, sophistication and soft luminescence. Her very name, translated from Spanish, means ‘light’.

Sensitive and emotional, putting an incredible portion of love and creativity into her work, Luz scoops up from nature all the inspiration she can find. In fact, her pieces are Nature itself, transformed into wearable art through powerful imagination, virtuosic use of gems, precious metals and unconventional materials, innovative techniques and a jeweler’s skills pushed to extremes.

In her designs, Luz employs anything and everything – from luxury stones to tin cans – to elevate the essence and beauty of ordinary objects above the humdrum of everyday existence.

The story behind the Iris Petal Earrings extends far beneath the surface of visible beauty. The idea came to Luz on her way to a meeting when, through a taxi window, she saw a withering iris dropping its petals on the street of Madrid. In its fading, she saw the charm and inspiration to create these delicate earpieces.

The technically challenging and time-consuming art of plique-à-jour enameling infuses the earrings with flickering, vibrant, natural colors. The apatite or amethyst drops are removable, so you can wear them with or without the stone. The green or purple petal gently climbs up your ear, adorning it with a fragile, ephemeral allure, sealed in gems and metals to last many human lifetimes.

 

THE REVIVAL OF NATURE AND JOIE DE VIVRE: BUTTERFLIES BY SILVIA FURMANOVICH

MESSENGERS OF THE APPROACHING SUMMER, TAKING ON NEW DIMENSIONS IN GOLD, DIAMONDS AND WOOD

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They appear out of thin air. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you notice a bright splash of color, carried chaotically by the wind. A butterfly. Moving in unpredictable zigzags, she carries the warmth of the sun on her polychromatic wings.  

Silvia Furmanovich gave rein to her imagination in a joyful and sophisticated collection of butterfly earrings, rings and necklaces.  

A unique phenomenon in the world of jewelry, in her eloquent masterpieces you can smell the freshness and woodiness of rainforests, hear the breath of the wind under butterflies’ wings; you can almost taste the precious stones melting on your tongue like drops of candy, and touch the geometric lines and soft curvatures, brought to life by Silvia’s creative spirit and by Nature herself.  

Balancing on the verge of delicate and powerful, feminine and bold, spiced by the intuitive and sublime combinations of marquetry, precious metals and stones, Silvia Furmanovich’s designs are full of color and life. The designer has travelled the globe with her heart and eyes wide open: ready to absorb and treasure the gems of the natural world, artifacts discovered in the remote parts of the planet, the skills and wisdom of modern and ancient cultures, techniques and artisans.  

In many cultures, butterflies have been perceived as symbols of the human soul, of creation and transformation. Aristotle referred to the butterfly as psyche, a word designating human soul in early Greek literature.

Butterflies also represent much-needed hope. In J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic saga Lord of the Rings, the wizard Gandalf the Grey, trapped on top of the tower by his treacherous counterpart, repeatedly whispers the name of the great eagle Gwaihir to a butterfly which then disappears into the storm, and soon the eagle comes to save him.   

Today scientists study butterflies as they abandon or change their habitats to look for the visible effects of climate change and learn more about our changing planet.  

Yet, Silvia Furmanovich’s interpretation is straightforward: refined, colorful and exuberant, her butterflies are neither an allegory nor the psychoanalytic inkblots of a Rorschach test, intended to evaluate and test you.

Her approach is a whiff of fresh air. No need to guess and overthink. Just experience the pure and luxurious beauty, created by this ingenious designer, in tandem with nature and a seasoned team of jewelers!  

Signature marquetry butterflies by Silvia Furmanovich may land on your fingers, ears or neck. Visit Moda Operandi to find your butterfly.    

TALES OF THE FLOATING CITY: ESCALE À VENISE BY CHANEL

SEVENTY MARVELOUS JEWELS TELL THE STORY OF THE ITALIAN WONDER IN THE LANGUAGE OF PRECIOUS METALS AND STONES

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Travelling the world through books – a romantic, affordable and eye-opening childhood experience for most of us.  

For Coco Chanel, books were more than just entertainment: they fuelled her imagination, giving her travel and education without leaving her room, allowing Chanel to discover countries, cultures and arts, which later influenced her legendary creations.  

In January 2016, Venice even hosted an exhibition “La Donna Che Legge” (“The Woman Who Reads”), a glimpse into Coco Chanel’s literary tastes, friendships and her relationships with books, writers, poets, artists and musicians.  

Back in the 1970s, Roland Barthes, the French literary critic, wrote in an article for Marie Claire magazine: “If you were to open a text about the history of literature today, you would find in it the name of a new classic author: Coco Chanel. Chanel does not write using paper and ink (except as a pastime), but with fabric, forms, colors.”[1]  

Chanel will always be Chanel.  

At the beginning of this year, the iconic fashion house presented a new high jewelry collection “Escale à Venise” (translated as “Stopover in Venice”): 70 pieces, of which 22 are one-of-a-kind, four brooches in a limited edition of five, as well as five high jewelry watches.  

The collection takes you to the engineering marvel of the world, the city of masks, bridges, romance and Murano glass, and submerges you in the colors, architecture and atmosphere of this extraordinary place – and Coco Chanel’s greatly loved destination – even if you have not yet had the good fortune to see it in person.  

Patrice Leguéreau, director of Chanel Jewelry Creation Studio, invites you to travel to this unique location not, this time, through the pages of books but through the facets of gemstones; to experience its indescribable grandeur through the colors of intricate enamel, layers of precious metals, the flight of imagination and the remarkable skills of Chanel’s jewelers.   

Symbolic depictions of blue-and-white mooring poles, ribboned boater hats, baroque lions from the facade of Saint Mark’s Basilica – the guardians and the spirit animals of Venice – the deep blue of the its starry skies, the tesserae of Byzantine architecture, scattered throughout the city… It takes an eminent mastermind to collect all the pieces of this mosaic and arrange them into an unparalleled object of jewelry art while staying true to the spirit of the city and to Chanel, firing people’s imagination without spiraling into clutter and chaos. It takes Patrice Leguéreau to do that.   

“Escale à Venise” is a collection with many faces, offering a contemporary interpretation of the different emblems of the Floating City. It consists of four parts: Sérénissime, Gran Canale, Isole della Laguna, and Spirito de Venezia.  

Sérénissime is the traditional name of the Republic of Venice or, in Venetian, Serenìsima Repùblega Vèneta – a sovereign state and maritime republic, which existed from 697 to 1797. It offers an intriguing interpretation of Venetian architecture: the facades of its palaces, the multicolored marble floors and mosaics of its churches, rendered in paragon, geometric lines, baguette-cut and round diamonds, warmed by the soft hues of Padparadascha and mandarin sapphires and rose gold.  

Gran Canale was inspired by the Venetian waterways: the big and small canals, brightly spotted with gondoliers’ hats, reimagined as whimsical cocktail rings, with ribbons set in red and black enamel and diamond pavé, as well as the blue-and-white mooring poles, dreamed up in the blue enamel and diamond pavé of earrings, necklaces and bangles.  

Isole della Laguna plays with the theme of camellia, Coco Chanel’s best-loved flower. Inspired by Venetian Murano glass, this iconic blossom is given new meaning and structure in rock crystal, hand-carved into the shape of the classic Chanel camellia, punctuated with diamonds and set in yellow gold.  

Spirito de Venezia contemplates the image of the lion – Coco Chanel’s astrological sign and her favorite talisman – and the blue-and-gold starry scene on the rooftop of Saint Mark’s Basilica. The winged lion on the Basilica is guarding the Bible on Chanel’s one-of-a-kind ring – an impressive pear-shaped diamond.  

High jewelry by Chanel is almost impossible to put into words. Beautiful? Beyond compare. Stunning? Absolutely. One-of-a-kind? Without question.  

Their new high jewelry collection “Escale à Venise” captures the heart and soul, colors and shapes, air and mood of the city and translates them so precisely into the language of beauty and art that even a person who has never been there can say: This is Venice!  

Let the “Escale à Venise” jewels speak for themselves. Give in to their charm. Listen to their story…          

 

[1] “Si vous ouvriez aujourd’hui une histoire de notre littérature, vous devriez y trouver le nom d’un nouvel auteur classique: Coco Chanel. Chanel n’écrit pas avec du papier et de l’encre (sauf à ses moments perdus) mais avec de l’étoffe, des formes et des couleurs […].” (source: Identités visuelles (Formes sémiotiques) by Jean-Marie Floch).    

INFINITY IN HER EYES, ETERNITY IN HER EARS: HOOP EARRINGS BY TAFFIN

FLIRTATIOUS, TIMELESS AND ULTRAFEMININE, THE HOOPS ARE BACK

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Can a man know a woman so well that he can create exactly what she wants?

In a moment of doubt, I recalled James Taffin de Givenchy, a jewelry designer, an expert in exotic gems and the founder of TAFFIN – the eponymous couture jewelry house, creator of pieces that are both zesty and experimental.

James Taffin de Givenchy is an alchemist, balancing emotion, intellect and logic to design one-of-a-kind objects of wearable art.

His easily recognizable designs often feature unconventional materials: rubber, ceramic (Taffin’s signature ingredient), wood, even steel from recycled AK-47s, resulting in thrilling challenges and, on occasion, a royal pain for the house’s jewelers who must find ingenious and innovative solutions to bring those imaginative projects to life. And, ultimately, pure joy for the women who will be wearing them!

Among James’s recent, dreamy creations are large hoop earrings: a delicate lace of carved white jade, sprinkled with rose gold ceramic and turquoise beads.

Time and time again, I’ve come back to these mesmerizing, semitranslucent jade circles: looking for the perfect angle, the perfect light, the perfect painting to reveal their transcendent beauty and breezy vibes. My many searches have at last come to an end with the intriguing portrait of a woman by Chris Gambrell.

Hoop earrings are as old as time. In Ancient Egypt, even cats were pictured with hoops in their ears. Bast, or Bastet – the Egyptian goddess of home, fertility and childbirth, protector of home from evil spirits and disease, embodiment of gracefulness and affection – was sculpted and portrayed as a black cat wearing a gold necklace and gold hoop earrings.

That said, they never fall out of fashion. Throughout a history of ever-changing tastes, trends and styles, these eye-catching classic circles, symbols of eternity, might sometimes accidentally disappear from the horizon, only to make an even more ambitious and spectacular comeback.

The hoops by TAFFIN are back!

For woman, for the goddess, and for a stunning amalgamation of both.

THE TRANSCENDENT. THE WISE. THE BEAUTIFUL. THE WOMAN

IN CELEBRATION OF EVERY WOMAN AND EVERY MOTHER

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It has become common practice to talk about women and men, femininity and masculinity in terms of Yin and Yang – contradictory, yet inseparable opposites. Women, the traditional representatives of Yin energy, have been celebrated as the sweet, gentle safekeepers of life, while men are destined to conquer, dominate and protect.

But the woman of today is, herself, both Yin and Yang. Balancing ever-increasing demands of family and career, she stands tall as a stronghold of ]opposing powers and idiosyncrasies: а svelte entrepreneur corralling a bunch of happy toddlers; an uncompromising politician with a weak point for her grandkids; a cool-headed brain surgeon who writes children’s books as a hobby; a lightning-fast sprinter, supporting dogs in an animal shelter.

Even when those opposing forces are not as dramatic, they are always there – softness and backbone, daintiness and solidity, centuries-old wisdom and contemporary intelligence – in every woman, in every single one of us. Just look inside to find it.

That is how I discovered the color red: the color of daring, of courage, the lipstick of a femme fatale, the color of fragrant wild strawberries, and of blood, which, let’s face it, is the inescapable companion of every birth, every new life.

Strong, spirited and beautiful: I chose this color as a statement to celebrate Women’s Day and Mother’s Day this year.

The symbolism behind the crimson red earrings from Sylvia Furmanovich’s Amazonia Bamboo collection is striking: the artist turns this common plant, an ordinary building material and food product in South, East, and Southeast Asia, into refined pieces of art. Through her daring designs, attention to detail and passion for traditional and innovative craftsmanship, her mix of precious and semiprecious stones, pearls and metals, she elevates the humble, yet strong and resilient bamboo to the dizzying heights of spicy, delicate and feminine refinement.

This is the quintessence of all the beauty in the world, which would never have happened were it not for the women.

Happy Women’s Day!

And Happy Mother’s Day!

CLOSE TO YOUR SKIN AND LIGHT YEARS AWAY: CÉPHÉIDE NECKLACE AND ULTRAVIOLET EARRINGS BY VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

FROM THE NEW HIGH JEWELRY COLLECTION ‘SOUS LES ETOILES’ COME SOME POWERFUL AND EXTRAORDINARY DEPICTIONS OF THE STARS ABOVE  

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Painting by Michal Lukasiewicz

Celestial bodies fabulously beyond our reach and range of vision, many of which, even in these high-tech times, exist only in the calculations of mathematicians and astronomers and have yet to be captured by even the most advanced telescopes, it’s the stars and galaxies, constellations and nebulae that have inspired Van Cleef & Arpels to create their latest wonder: the ‘Sous Les Etoiles’ collection (translated as ‘Under the Stars’).  

The designers and jewelers at Van Cleef & Arpels have reached into the depths of ancient archives and sci-fi movies, primitive old-time drawings and cutting-edge visualizations, NASA imagery and their own imagination, to look more closely at the skies.  

The women from the paintings by Michal Lukasiewicz are wearing the one-of-a-kind Céphéide necklace and matching, unique Ultraviolet earrings from this new, stellar collection.  

Cepheids – giant, pulsating stars – gave Van Cleef & Arpels the idea to create this eponymous, transformable necklace, featuring eleven chalcedony cabochons, mauve sapphires, tsavorite garnets and diamonds.  

The deep, hypnotizing indigo of the night sky, revealing itself in dreamy two-tone tanzanites and mauve sapphires, is pierced by glowing diamonds of stars and the jolly verdure of tsavorites, reflected by the matching Ultraviolet earrings, complete with detachable pendants.  

Preoccupied by our daily hustle and bustle, we have stopped paying attention to the skies. But have we, really? On 18 February 2021, NASA landed its rover Perseverance on Mars. To raise public awareness of this mission, NASA initiated a ‘Send Your Name to Mars’ campaign, where anyone could send their name to the Red Planet on a microchip, stored aboard the rover. Once registration had been completed, it turned out that a whopping 10,932,295 names had been submitted – all to be flown to Mars!  

This euphoria over reaching out to the skies, the ambitious and competitive NASA and SpaceX projects, the butterflies we get in our stomachs when we look at creations as wonderful and exquisite as the ‘Sous Les Etoiles’ jewelry: everything points to how the stars have not been forgotten.  

The galaxies of precious stones and metals, the ultra-sophisticated and poetic mastery of Van Cleef & Arpels’ jewelers and designers, the mesmerizing energy of the magnificent Céphéide necklace and Ultraviolet earrings are clear evidence that, even at the peak of the current bumpy ride, human hearts and eyes never stop looking – and finding – the beauty beneath and above the dome of the sky.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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