The 'Belle' collection owes its name to the bellflower, which - according to the legend - is the saviour of the world’s beauty, and Stenzhorn interpreted this in a jewelled story. When people stopped appreciating the beauty of the world around them, Mother Nature hid all flowers in her secret garden until the people realised the error of their ways, and beauty would once again be able to blossom in their hearts. Winged fairies lived in this secret garden, as protectors of the flowers, and it was one of them that never gave up on humankind. She decided that bringing back the most beautiful of the flowers to the people would make them look once more upon beauty and appreciate the true wonder of the natural world: this was a bellflower.
“The moral of the story tells us that we should always appreciate the beauty in nature. Wherever flowers bloom, there exists the potential for growth and happiness. This is the message we decided to convey through our collection, in the hope of re-emphasising how important it is for all of us to respect and protect Mother Nature,” explains the brand’s chief designer, Anna Strarosti.
The design of the collection – which includes rings, three types of pendants and earrings – is a realistic tribute to the bellflower. There are, in fact, an amazing 165 species of bellflower in nature, each being immensely diverse in appearance and all beautiful in their own way. For Stenzhorn though, a specific type has become a paragon – Campanella Ipomea Aquatica. The jewels inspired by this flower are made of white, yellow or pink gold, and are decorated with round and baguette cut diamonds in a channel setting. “As distinctive touch of our collections, we always choose specific techniques that will help us representing the real details of the flowers. In this case, the channel set technique depicts the little veins that you can see in the real bellflowers in nature,” says Anna, during our meeting in Basel.
If we study the jewelled bellflower buds from above, we will be able to see only one half of the work’s complexity; a gold surface paved with yellow and colourless diamonds or, alternatively, a combination of colourless diamonds and pink sapphires. This mimics the flower’s appearance in nature almost exactly. If one is to turn a ring and observe it from underneath, then you will discover ornate golden patterning. Such exquisite design is inspired by old calligraphic lettering – exaggerated in size, and adorned with flourishes and even flowers – the likes of which we are all familiar with from the fairy stories of our childhoods.
The protagonist of the legend – the Fairy – is subtly present on every piece in the collection; be it a ring, a pair of earrings or a pendant. In the tinier of the pendants, it delicately clasps a hook on the back of the flower. In another, the fairy is hidden inside the flower, and only unveiled by sliding down one of the thin gold chains dangling from the bud. On the rings, a miniature fairy made of gold hides under the shade of the bellflower. The shank of the ring is made in the form of the flower stem, wrapped around the finger, with a diamond accenting the very tip.
The 'Belle' collection has become not only another flower in the brand's greenhouse, of which earlier collections have been dedicated to sakura, the chrysanthemum, orchids, roses, and many more, but also a more profound invocation to naturalism, and the protection of the environment in Stenzhorn's own uniquely poetic manner.