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.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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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Illustration by Chris Gambrell

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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“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…

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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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