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The process behind the creation of these jewellers’ striking designs is just as fascinating as the precious pieces themselves. From intricate enameling, to vibrant stones cast into molten precious metals, to a cool take on cameos, the ingenious techniques that Auverture’s jewellers employ add another layer of fascination to their beautiful creations.
To craft what are truly miniature works of art, London designer Alice Cicolini uses an ancient Indian enamelling technique called meenakari. This art – which originated in Persia but found a home in India’s Rajasthan – sees patterns engraved into soft, 23.5-carat gold, with the softness of the metal allowing for what Alice calls “more detailed and expressive work.” Alice describes the artisans who create her colourful pieces in India as “miniature painters on gold.” The artisans take the coloured enamel, which is composed of ground, pigmented glass and metal, then heat-fire it into engraved recesses in the jewellery, finally polishing the design with agate stone. One stunning example is Alice’s Indo Deco Ring, a vibrant piece with blue, turquoise, and red enamelling that surrounds a regal ruby.
Another intriguing engraving technique is seen in jeweller Amedeo Scognamiglio’s inventive cameos. Amedeo learned the art of carving cameos, which are fashioned from coral and shells, from his mother, while his family’s M+M Scognamiglio cameo business began in 1857 in Torre del Greco in southern Italy, the centre of the cameo-making world. But Amedeo offers a very modern take on this ancient art, with motifs of grinning skulls, sweet monkeys, and even Britain’s Queen Elizabeth spotlighted in his work. Speaking to The Jewellery Editor, Amedeo describes carving cameos as “a solitary craft that takes decades to master. [It’s] artists sketching on shells and carving each masterpiece by hand – it requires patience and love.”
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Also putting a new spin on her family’s heritage is jeweller Carolina Bucci. From the fourth generation of a family of Florentine jewellers, Carolina discovered her Florentine Finish technique when combing through her family’s archives. This process uses a diamond-tipped tool to create minute indentations in gold, which results in a sparkling, faceted effect on the gold’s surface that Carolina dubs “diamond-dusted.” “It made so much sense to me to have the Florentine Finish as part of the modern collections,” says Carolina. “After all, our jewellery is still made in my family’s workshops in Florence, and the city and its traditions are very special to me.”
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Bibi van der Velden
Meanwhile, carved mammoth tusk and beetle’s wings are among the natural materials that take on a luxurious new guise in Bibi van der Velden’s hands. Bibi, who is a jeweller and sculptor, uses 40,000-year-old mammoth tusk that’s been excavated from the Siberian tundra to create designs such as a noble unicorn ring, or the Mammoth Galaxy Studs, that resemble miniature planets. And the beetle’s wings that Bibi works with are taken from the sternocera aequisignata beetle, that’s considered a gourmet delicacy in Asia. Bibi repurposes these discarded wings by inlaying them in fine jewellery, with the wings displaying a magical, natural iridescence. They’re seen in pieces such as Bibi’s Rudolf Scarab Ring, in which the beetle’s glistening wing is the ring’s focal point, embellished with pavé diamonds and a red opal.
And London-born, Los Angeles-based jeweller Polly Wales conceived of her own technique to fashion designs that “speak to people who don’t like shiny, perfect, immaculate things,” Polly says. The designer’s “cast not set” process – similar to the historic lost wax casting technique – sees Wales set colourful gemstones directly into molten metal, designed so that the stones “reveal themselves to the wearer over time.” This look can be seen in Polly’s Celeste Ring, set with harlequin sapphires that resemble delectable shards of sweets, or the Heaven Cove Skull Ring, encrusted with pastel-toned sapphires. If you want to learn more about Polly’s journey and technique click here.
Intrigued by these jewellers’ unique, experimental techniques? Discover more of the Auverture designers’ creations here.