Here at katerinaperez.com, we believe that 2023 was a very successful and creative year for the fine jewellery industry! From reinterpreting famous works of art to elevating classic styles and aesthetics, designers brought jewellery lovers and aficionados an enormous amount of joy through pieces made of beautiful and rare materials. Let’s look at five of the ‘crème de la crème’ of these collections and juicily dissect each of their gem-centric jewels.
The Through Paradox Collection by CULTUS ARTEM
Founder and creative director of Cultus Artem Holly Tupper created the luxury brand of handcrafted jewellery, fragrances, and skincare in Singapore after a long stint in the world of finance. Inspired by her florist mother and avid art collector father, Tupper left the finance world to create Cultus Artem, named after the Latin words for “adornment” and “art “, a brand that focuses on creating luxury products for women that mitigates waste and overproduction in the luxury sector. In its inaugural fine jewellery collection, Through Paradox, each fine jewellery piece centres around a stone from Tupper’s exquisite and unique gem collection, which took over thirty years to source, including Cobaltoan calcite, Chrysocolla crystal as well as green tourmaline beads to name a few.
Each one of these unique gems is set into a design that evokes the relic-like power of jewellery. In her own words: “My primary task as a jewellery designer is to reveal the stones - their individual beauty and character”. Each piece combines 18-karat gold with one of Tupper’s natural stones to create a piece of jewellery that features an unusual form, creating a paradoxical work of art that can be worn every day. Now based in San Antonio, Texas, every jewellery creation is awash with colour, texture and form, bringing a precious representation of Mother Earth into your jewellery wardrobe.
Khandha Collections by Noor Fares
London-based jewellery designer Noor Fares is famous for designing fine jewellery pieces imbued with healing gemstones for a holistic approach to fine jewellery. Her collections are always aesthetically complex and layered, creating geometric designs through vibrant coloured gems that contain healing and positive energies. The same can be said for her latest collection, Khandha, in which Fares takes these two staples of her recognizably unique aesthetic and elevates them to higher heights. “Khandha” is the Buddhist belief in the five elements that encompass the whole of an individual's mental and physical being: matter, sensations, perception, formations, and consciousness. Using this spiritual belief system as the basis for each design, Fares uses her passion for healing jewels to create larger-than-life textured jewellery pieces inspired by the Op Art movement of the 1960s as well as Psychedelia music.
To create this visually loud collection, Fares employs a diverse selection of coloured stones, such as varying shades of mother of pearl, lavender and moon quartz, as well as the entire rainbow of sapphire hues. What’s more, the larger stones present in each piece are often manipulated using a variety of cutting techniques, gemstone faceting, glyptography and relief carving to create sculpted hanging jewels. The star gem of the collection, however, is the ever-versatile rock crystal, which is treated with a spray paint enamel effect to recreate that tie-dye pattern that is so 60s, as well as swirling black and white colours, making mini optical illusions.
Make A Wish by Francesca Villa
You’ve never met a jewellery designer quite like the Italian artist Francesca Villa. Her imagination knows no bounds, and with the endless and unrepressed creativity of a child, she carefully crafts jewellery pieces that act out the fictional stories of her mind's eye, ones filled with imaginary worlds, places and animals you could only wish to dream of. This is the premise of her ongoing Close Encounters collection, for which she has recently released her latest series of fine jewellery creations aptly entitled Make A Wish. The protagonist of the storyline, a leopard, brought to life through micro-enamel paintings, befriends a ladybug whilst out shopping, after which, later that evening, he takes his friend, the blue seahorse, to a beach party. In tandem, a zebra celebrates her birthday with her friends, a little crab and a cockatoo.
Crystal intaglios carved and painted by hand, backed with mother of pearl, are the canvases through which Villa depicts these stop-motion-esc scenes. Each ring and pair of drop earrings show a different still-image of these fantastical events, like a children’s book, using the smallest enamel cartoon figures you’ve ever seen drawn on a piece of jewellery. Each painting is highlighted with discrete diamond accents to further accentuate the vivid colours of the enamel paintings, bringing light and sparkle to these beautiful miniature works of art.
The Man Ray Collection by Venyx World
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Venyx World jewellery, creative director Eugenie Niarchos has launched a collection that honours her love of the works of American visual artist Man Ray, whose ground-breaking Surrealist artworks dramatically impacted the decorative arts field. Through a variety of precious gems and metals, Niarchos recreates three of his most famous works of art into limited-edition fine jewellery pieces – the Vénus restaurée sculpture becomes a pendant carved from gold, cacholong or light grey quartz, whilst the famous Larmes photograph is recreated in a pendant, bracelet and ring developed in white gold, enamel, black-rhodium, rock crystal, mother-of-pearl and diamond.
Finally, the Les Amoureux painting takes shape through a series of necklaces, a brooch, a ring and a pendant made from a variety of coloured gems, metallic enamel and mixed gold hues. Through each of these pieces, Niarchos challenges the masculine lens of eroticism and surrealism in art through her feminine perspective, creating a dichotomy of nine monochromatic and widely colourful limited-edition pieces. It’s hard to say what we love most about this collection. Maybe it’s Niarchos’s use of the lesser-known gem cacholong, a milky white variant of opal, or perhaps her play with metallic enamel to recreate a colourful mosaic portrayal of those famous Lovers lips. Thankfully, we have until the end of January to explore and interact with these pieces in person, as they are on display at the New York Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue.
This Too Shell Haas by Jessica McCormack
Snails are not the first animals that come to mind when one thinks of luxurious fine jewellery, and yet they are the source of inspiration behind London-based jewellery designer Jessica McCormack and American artists The Haas Brothers' most recent collaboration. In their second collaborative project, they have created five limited edition yellow gold, pearl and diamond pieces that perfectly fuse the weirdly wonderful anthropomorphic sculptural figures that The Haas Brothers create with McCormack’s futuristic heirloom jewellery aesthetic. To create these extraordinary pieces, McCormack took inspiration from the bumps and lumps she saw featured on the twin brothers’ Snail creations, which reminded her of the Koru fern, a plant native to her homeland of New Zealand. Each piece features 18k gold that coils itself around varying cuts and carat weights of these precious gems.
The Salty Snail shell-shaped jewel is the only pendant in the collection and features a 5-carat pear-shaped diamond nestled inside a conch-like structure, its rim studded with fresh-water pearls. The Diamond Ear Spiral earring features two 1.5-carat brilliant-cut diamonds that sit at either end of the golden twirl, connected with a series of alternating smaller and larger pearls. The Mechanical Snail ring is the smallest of the two rings present in the collection, featuring four brilliant-cut diamonds set in ascending sizes in a tubular setting. The larger Shrinking Snail ring features a series of round diamonds decreasing in size from the outer end of the coil towards the centre of the ring top. Finally, a pair of stud earrings called Studly Snails feature swirling gold frames surrounding more round brilliant-cut diamonds with dispersed pearls of different sizes around the outside of the frames. Swirling, whirling, and peaceful in its overall tranquil aesthetic, this collection makes us look forward to what the highly anticipated third collaboration between these three artists will bring.
As you can see, from carved gems and doorways to enamel leopards and golden snails, each of these five collections is impressive in its own right and shows an appreciation for the arts. We believe that jewellery is a unique platform for learning through storytelling. Let us know if you see any other collections we should have our eyes on!