Authentic Beauty: The Refined Jewellery Expertise of Maison J’OR

Recently, I had the pleasure of discovering a spectacular high jewellery brand from Italy - Maison J’OR. I can easily call it a sparkling jewel in the Roman crown! Why? Since 1986, the company’s founders have focused on crafting impactful, poetic and colourful designs infused with all those legendary Italian goldsmithing techniques that have me running back to Italy each year for various trade shows and events: titanium elements, mother-of-pearl inlay, statement coloured gemstones! But what’s really special is the ergonomic quality of these jewels and their mastery of complex details.

I will admit to always having a soft spot for handcrafted Italian fine jewellery. It’s not just the impressive manufacturing and hand-finishing skills on display but that quintessential Italian passion that seems to embed itself in a piece and add an extra touch of joy and beauty. I can’t quite explain it! Lorenzo Gelpi of Maison J’OR – based in the ‘Eternal City’ of Rome – noted that he has “grown up in a world of fantasy and creativity” that is distinguished by an “incredible savoir-faire” … sounds wonderful, don’t you think?

A model wears an 18k rose gold necklace, earrings and a ring from the Lilium collection by J’OR Jewels, set with pink and orange sapphires, rubies, diamonds and mother of pearl

The Beauty of Italy Embedded in Jewellery

Lorenzo continues: “Just look around, wherever you are in Italy, to find wonders. It’s the artisans who have always provided princes and powerful figures with captivating works through their workshops that influence each other. The beauty of Italy lies in the amalgamation of Greek, Etruscan, Arab, Turkish, Norman, Spanish, French and Flemish styles. A desire to surpass oneself with increasingly astonishing expressions of beauty – this is the reason for so much skill and inventiveness.”

Now, imagine this culture of creativity, colour, poetry and history as the backdrop to the meeting of two people - Attilio Gelpi and his wife, Barbara. Together, they channelled their shared love of jewellery into Maison J’OR, which represents “the courage to follow their instincts and heart to give life to an idea of beauty that is expressed through light and metal,” according to the brand’s story. Since 1986, their family business has evolved from a goldsmith’s atelier into a distinctive high jewellery brand – J’OR Jewels - and a world-class manufacturing company, OroProject, which can satisfy the increasingly technical demands of global clients.

J’OR Jewels Nuance bracelet with tsavorite garnets and heart-shaped turquoise in 18k white gold

New Generation of the Gelpi Family

Today, the J’OR Jewels brand is led by Attilio and Barbara’s sons Lorenzo and Filippo. Together, they’ve found a balance between eye-catching, statement shapes without sacrificing comfort or wearability. Pieces under the J’OR banner are guided by “the idea of a living jewel that can share every freedom of space and time with the individual without any restrictions or preconceptions”. Although this is open to interpretation, to me, it means that I can wear a J’OR Jewel without feeling weighed down, like it enhances and supports my personality rather than detracting from whatever I wish to express at that moment. Each piece is made from start to finish by the Maison, and so it proudly employs master craftsmen and women with specific skills that are at risk of being lost to time.

"The jewel, like a fine tailor-made garment, tells a lot about our personality because it is a vehicle of internal and symbolic values, a way to give beauty and have character. Intercepting these needs is the task that every J’OR jewel sets for itself."

Maison J’OR Craftsmanship

What really sets the Maison apart, at least in my eyes, is three things: a mastery of inlay, the use of titanium, and the ergonomic construction of exquisite jewellery sets. Inlay is not an easy technique; carving delicate mother of pearl and securing it within a design in this way is complex and time-consuming. At Vicenzaoro in January, I was presented with beautiful suites and standalone jewels featuring inlay, and it is a testament to Maison J’OR’s skill and passion that it chooses to spend extra time achieving beauty through this technical process.

Next, there’s the use of lightweight titanium, which is something I have noted among many Italian brands. What I especially appreciate is that J’OR Jewels uses titanium in more ‘casual’ jewels, or should I say those without statement gemstone solitaires, meaning its pieces needn’t be reserved for black tie affairs! Many of these pieces exhibit wonderful flexibility and movement, which leads me to my final observation about ergonomics.

A model wears a bracelet and ring from the J’OR Jewels Fluid collection, crafted in blue titanium and set with diamonds

The Power of Ergonomic Design

In Vicenza, I fell in love with a cuff bracelet and earring suite crafted in titanium and gold with pave sapphires and colourless diamonds, largely because of their remarkable construction. They hug the curves of the wrist, perfectly frame the face, and hit my jawline at the pristine point to accentuate my natural proportions and not overpower them. Maison J’OR seems to have a knack for complementing the shape of the body, resulting in seriously sensuous and comfortable jewels that feel like a second skin. It’s incredibly difficult to calculate the right length, curve, angle, and shape of an earring to accentuate a woman’s natural beauty, so what J’OR achieves is really special.

“Maison J'OR has built its own style starting from the body, dressing it in softness, making comfort an essential aspect,” Lorenzo tells me. “Imagine harmonious jewellery, never unnecessarily flashy, pleasant to wear, that naturally follows movements; that serves a purpose: making the woman aware of her public and private moments. We prioritise a fluidity that is both the softness of constructions and the natural, progressive fusion of masculine and feminine codes to convey a mysterious and personal femininity and a soft and conscious masculinity.”

Gothica Collection Novelties

One of its most recent collections, Gothica, is a seductive expression of the Maison J’OR DNA. This time, we find large pops of coloured gemstones wrapped in inlaid mother of pearl, shaped like the sweeping archways in Italian Gothic art and architecture. The offering comprises a necklace, ring and earrings crafted in 18k rose gold. The choker is perhaps the most show-stopping, set with 15.71 carats of diamonds and a 38.08-carat kunzite with a purplish pink colour. I am told that each intricate grey mother-of-pearl cut-out was handmade one by one in order to achieve the finished look.


Finally, to really appreciate the technical proficiency that runs throughout Maison J’OR, it is important to know more about OroProject – its master atelier that blends traditional techniques and cutting-edge technology.

"OroProject gives Maison J’OR the opportunity to develop jewellery creativity with complete freedom,” Lorenzo explains. “It evaluates technical feasibility and the complexity of the work, always finding the most refined and comprehensive solution while adhering to the highest parameters of quality and perfection."

J’OR Jewels Morgana collection ring with morganite, orange sapphires and colourless diamonds in 18k rose gold

OroProjectCrucially, this house of Italian hand-craftmanship is accessible to others who benefit from its team of professional master goldsmiths, both at the start of the process when designing pieces and putting the finishing touches to a jewel.

A model wears the J’OR Jewels Ego ring with a precious white opal cabochon, black diamonds and tsavorites in 18k white gold

My time at Vicenzaoro trying on J’OR Jewels demonstrated that this brand embodies the best attributes of Italian jewellery-making traditions while also employing its own signature proficiency with inlay. Comfort is so often overlooked in the pursuit of an eye-catching high jewellery creation, but it needn’t be, not in the capable hands of Maison J’OR.

J’OR Jewels earrings from the Harem collection with tanzanite cabochons, mother of pearl and colourless diamonds in 18k white gold

You can discover and try on J’OR jewellery at Haute Jewels Geneva from April 8-15, 2024, at the Intercontinental Hotel Geneva.

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