Jewellery Focus recently wrote an interesting editorial on how designer jewellery brands are tapping into the zeitgeist by finding weird and wonderful ways to manufacture their jewellery. While it’s hard to say anything that hasn’t already been said about the classic strategy of differentiating a brand by using exotic materials or manufacturing process, Mr. Northcote is absolutely right in pointing out the growing number of designer jewellery brands who are happily stepping into what was once the preserve of the contemporary art jeweller– innovative choices of material and method. CAD/CAM of course is one of these methods, but these innovators borrow techniques from many crafts and industries such as wood working, ceramics, stone cutting, and industrial metal tooling.
To add to the short list of makers included in the article (such as Bailey of Sheffield and Vanacci), here are a few of a growing list of premium and luxury brands which create jewellery using both innovative materials and innovative manufacturing processes:
Hemmerle is a haute jeweller based in Munich, and one of the current darlings of the premium luxury market. Their work always has a classical fine art focus, but what makes it so remarkable is the extents to which they are prepared to go to create precisely the right colour and texture for their jewellery. It’s not every day you see expensive diamonds and coloured stones set in delicately finished and anodised aluminium, for example.
Greek born, Paris-based Ioanna Souflia taps into the spirit of her native Athens by sculpting native varieties of marble within her jewellery to dramatic, iconic effect.
We have discussed Wallace Chan here before, but Chan’s innovations with titanium stone setting, mortise and tenon diamond setting, and intaglio definitely warrant a place in this list.
Silvia Furmanovich‘s work reflects her passion for travel. And much like Hemmerle, she is unafraid to use just about any material necessary to recreate the spirit of her experiences abroad, whether it be stone carving, wood marquetry, lacquer, porcelain, or shaped bamboo.
You cannot talk about material innovation in fine jewellery right now without discussing the gravity-defying sculptural pieces of Beau Han Xu. Inside each of his sculpted glass forms, diamonds continuously tumble as they float in a dense liquid, making for some of the most eye-catching and hypnotic statement pieces you can find.
Finally, we have Taffin, the jewellery label of one James Taffin de Givency. His fashion jewellery displays brilliant use of both nano-ceramics and colour.
(All images are the property of their respective designers.)