It seems we all start to sketch little four-petal daisies from the moment we can hold a pencil. Why are we drawn to flowers, even as small children? Perhaps it is simply their ubiquitous beauty; flowers bloom all around us and, like people, they appear in all guises, sizes, colours, shapes and complexities. Flora has been a source of inspiration for jewellers for hundreds of years, with Art Nouveau immediately jumping to my mind as the pinnacle of floral intensity. Contemporary jewellery brands are continuing to reinvent flowers to this day, incorporating stems, petals and leaves in designs that exemplify their stylistic DNA. Here are some of my favourite examples.
It’s not hard to imagine walking into a ballroom wearing creations by Ana Márcia Albuquerque, Creative Director of Goldesign Bossa Group, which prescribes to a fantastically fun “more is more” mentality. Goldesign jewels are filled with large gems, tiny details made of sculptured gold and, of course, copious amounts of floral silhouettes that curate a bouquet-like effect. “Turning details into incomparable style is the motivation for Ana,” explains Marcella Albuquerque of the Brazilian brand and Ana’s daughter. “Her exclusive world of creation began during her years spent in France, where she channelled the beauty of nature and her Brazilian sophistication into the joy of designing. All the details matter to her. Such as a flower and a butterfly are never the same, she celebrates nature creating pieces of pure luxury, never repeated, to collect and wear.”
“The house has been praising nature since its origins 50 years ago. Flowers are the favourite subject because they combine organic volumes with an explosion of colours that sublimate the hands of the jeweller.” These are the words of MATHON Paris President, Aude Mathon, who is at the helm of a veritable ecosystem of jewels, including flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, coral, starfish and so much more from nature. The Mathon family has artistry in its blood, which explains why so many of its jewels are painterly in style… brilliant bouquets are concocted with cushion-cut coloured gems, smooth cabochons and hand-enamelled details like ladybirds climbing stems. Some of the flower jewels are one-of-a-kind while other belong to the Florilège collection.
Cesare Pompanon 1936
Third generation French brand Cesare Pompanon 1936 creates feminine floral sprays that hang delicately around the neck or bloom like wedding bouquets from fingers. Today, the brand is led by the grandchildren of its founder, René Pompanon, who started from a small workshop in Lyon in 1936. The spirit of family is entrenched in the Cesare Pompanon 1936 DNA, which perhaps explains the comforting familiarity and timelessness of its jewels. These are flowery combinations of gemstones that aren’t just beautiful to look at but are comfortable to wear too. “We want to be part of the life of each of you… Accompany you in the expression of your femininity.” In 2014 they introduced their flora-inspired Primavera collection and the signature signature cocktail ring with twisting flowers that has won many hearts and have been developed in other forms like twisting hearts or disks.
Flowers bloom at the heart of one of this Italian brand’s most iconic ranges, Collezione Flora, which includes pavé petals in hues of white, yellow and rose gold, as well as the Candy Flora selection of daintier pieces. In fact, the Pizzo family is said to have a passion for gardening and plants in general, so its jewels are clearly a labour of love! Rocco Pizzo, the son of founder Leo Pizzo, says: “We can express our know-how for multi-level design, not just flat layers, but rich 3D curves and we can use our pavé setting, which is something that we are really proud of. With the flowers theme and pavé setting, we can use the skills of our stone selectors to achieve more complex shades of colours – this is another expression of our savoir-faire.”
“I see flowers as the rebel soul of nature, each with its own distinctive and unique character,” says Luca Palmiero, the son of Carlo Palmiero who founded his eponymous brand in northern Italy in the 1970s. I would say that flowers have long been a part of Palmiero’s DNA and they have created dozens of interpretations of blossoming buds. Luca continues: “I think nature has invented everything; we can only pay homage to it. In my case, giving shape to unique jewels, which maintain the natural movements of the flower and their shades of colour is the best gift I can give to the people who love them.” For me, the flower power of Palmiero emerges in its pavé designs that allow each petal to unfurl as a canvas for precious gems.
Floral themes coupled with a palette as rich as micro mosaics is a recipe for success, something that SICIS knows only too well. Its larger flower creations are the result of countless hours of sorting and assembly in a way that’s unique to this specific form of jewellery artistry. The blooms that emerge from SICIS’ workshop are heightened in colour and somewhat fantastical like they’ve blossomed from the pages of Alice in Wonderland. SICIS Creative Director Gioia Placuzzi tells me: “The floral world has always provided me with a vast array of creative options and inspirations. This is because in jewellery flowers find their best expression in micromosaic thanks to the ability of this technique to bring to life both shapes and colours in such a provocative and powerful way.”
Just because a motif is common, doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved with great elegance and aplomb. These brands have taken nature’s profile of petals, stems, stamens, leaves and all things in between to create something tangible that can elevate the necks, arms, ears and fingers of women everywhere. And who wouldn’t want to be adorned in this bouquet?