One of Gübelin’s steadfast traditions is to look deep into the stone in search of design inspiration, which is invariably prompted by the pattern of inclusions. In the past, this technique worked perfectly with emeralds and rubies, and in 2019 the brand released the Aurora collection which was inspired by an exceptional pinkish-orange coloured variety of sapphire: the padparadscha. A few months ago at a private launch, the brand’s clients discovered its sheer creativity and got to ‘meet’ 25 best padparadscha specimens which took the company several years to find and set in jewellery.
Raphael Gübelin decided that he wouldn’t stop there and just a few months after the collection’s initial launch he presented something else that echoed the premise and design of the Aurora collection: the Blushing Wing necklace - which required more than 600 hours for its completion.
The Blushing Wing necklace is decorated with 717 sapphires of various colours and diamonds, all of which have been set by hand with incredible precision. The total weight of the gemstones is 33.23 carats, with the central padparadscha weighing an impressive 12.10 carats. Within this ensemble of pastel colours, a bright red ruby set in the very heart of the necklace stands out. It wasn’t placed there by chance because, on the contrary - according to tradition, the finishing touch in any piece of Gübelin Jewellery is a miniature red corundum. As the brand’s visual signature, the ruby is an expression of Gübelin's passion for coloured gemstones. Gübelin Jewellery chose the ruby - the king of gems - to symbolise the unique combination of beauty, knowledge and artisanship that characterises the brand’s philosophy.
I was enchanted by the wonderfully romantic inspiration of this necklace’s design which Gübelin happily tells again and again! In Sri Lanka, an island famous for its stunningly colourful sunrises and a huge number of bird species, the very first pinkish-orange samples of this rarest of sapphires were discovered. Under a microscope, the internal structure of the padparadscha reveals elegant structures known as “feathers”. It was this that inspired the brand’s designers to create the Blushing Wing necklace, one that was like a bird spreading its wings to welcome the first rays of the sun in the morning.
“Everything we do as a family business we strive to suffuse with a deeper meaning. We therefore share our inspirations and exchange ideas with a variety of other spheres to open up new perspectives,” says Raphael Gübelin.
Seeking to support young talents, the company teamed up with the Zurich based artist Miriam Laura Leonardi. The Artgenève committee chose her to participate in the project and thus a completely unprecedented duet between the jewellery company and this creative talent was formed. Gübelin and Miriam worked on the design of the stand which also became an art installation in its own right. In addition to the necklace, the “Dial M for Slippers” objet d’art was also presented: 16 pairs of unique slippers which are printed with photomicrographic images of the internal patterns of the padparadscha sapphire, each slipper displaying its own section of the picture. In her work, the young artist also uses traditional techniques, focusing on lightness, detailed work and high-quality materials. The artwork’s name was a reference to Andy Warhol’s “Dial M for Shoe” illustrations and Alfred Hitchcock’s film Dial M for Murder.
Gübelin’s collaboration with Miriam Laura Leonardi once again shows that, when it comes to true art, there are no limitations. These only arise when you introduce them yourself.