For the fourth edition of Artistar Jewels this year, I was part of an esteemed judging panel to find the best contemporary jewellery designer for 2017.
For the past seven years, Founder Enzo Carbone has brought Artistar Jewels to the world stage to promote well-known and emerging artists. This was the first time the gala event was held at the Giureconsulti Palace during Fashion Week in Milan.
It was an honour being among some of the most prestigious names in the business, including Elisabetta Barracchia – Editor of Vogue Accessory and Creative Director of the Fashion Department of Vanity Fair, Mariastella Campi – Fashion Journalist, Bianca Cappello – Historiana and critic of jewelry, Gianni De Liguoro, and Guido Solari. It was our job to judge 142 international designers from more than 30 countries and over 350 creations. We judged each piece based on technique, experimentation, originality and research.
The winners for Artistar Jewels 2017 are Russian designer Evgeniia Balashova; Italian artist Emanuele Leonardi and the Icelandic designer Anna Maria Pitt. Winners will be featured in next year’s show in 2018, together with a spot in the show’s accompanying book. Each designer will be available for sale online at artistarjewels.com. On top of all that, one lucky winner will have the rare opportunity to work with the De Liguoro brand.
SHOP THE LOOK: SMYTHSON Mara croc-effect leather jewelry case HOURGLASS Ambient Lighting Edit GUCCI earrings GUCCI Fur-felt wide-brim trilby hat ELLERY Sword bubble-sleeved cotton-blend maxi dress Smythson Make It Happen Notebook Christian Louboutin Lip Colour Bottega Veneta Leather Tote NICHOLAS KIRKWOOD loafers DIPTYQUE Tubéreuse scented candle LOEWE Elephant coin purse Christian Louboutin Nail Polish
I fell in love with Artisticalmente by Emanuele Leonardi – a 2016 Artistar winner and one of the show’s most popular designers. This year the judges couldn’t resist his neckpiece called, Valutazione del Rischio (or Risk Assessment). Made of wood, leather and bronze, it depicts our desire to reach out and grab hold of our heart’s desire no matter what the risk.
Over the past two years, Leonardi Emanuele has honed his technique of wax casting to create these marvellous micro sculptures and a new concept in jewellery design.Another very touching piece by Emanuele Leonardi is this sculpture depicting the Istrian exodus and the women and children who inspired us with their stories of abandonment and leaving their homeland during World War II.What is most impressive about these pieces is that they’re not your traditional precious jewels, but body ornaments with a provocative style matched only by the materials and techniques. In a society where big brand names dominate the world of fashion jewellery, can these creations compete and become a true contemporary luxury? Leave your comments below.GIANNI DE BENEDITTISAn indulgent pleasure, this innovative design fromFuturoRemoto Gioielli by Gianni De Benedittis combines mechanics with beauty. Three gold blades covered in diamonds sparkle into action and provide a cool, summer breeze for the decadent woman who likes her jewellery to make a statement. Made of gold, diamonds and a central zircon.What could be described as a marriage between innovative jewellery design and modern technology, these one-of-a-kind pieces fully embrace the fashion world. Take this New Energy Ring, for example. A miniature solar panel mounted in yellow gold and rubies adds sparkle to the purpose and renewable energy.This next piece is a depiction of water as the most precious resource in the world. Using precious materials like silver, gold and rutile quartz, this design questions what is more precious to humanity?ALENA WILLROTHThis next designer attracted my attention at once with her use of unusual shapes and forms. She’s been working primarily with polyethylene since 2012 to create these wonderful endless growing and shrinking spirals. Inspired by the deep sea world of microbiology, these creations capture the movement of the sea. Every element is handcrafted and contains no clasps, no beginning and no end!Born in the Czech Republic, Alena Willroth now lives and works in Berlin. Her works are also inspired by her background in philosophy and fashion design, and her training as a classical tailor.U JEWELSAnother jewel which caught my eye is this piece called, Embryo by U Jewels. Made of mammoth ivory, 18K yellow gold, and garnet, it is a one-of-a-kind- collectable pendant depicting a genesis, the origin of all things and the beginning of creation.Russian brand U Jewels likes to use talismans and charms to create a spiritual experience for the wearer. Even the ‘U’ in their name symbolises infinity. Some of their pieces use masculine and feminine amulets to tap into the regenerative power of nature. Other pieces use talismans like the bell and eye to block negative energy and bring luck upon the wearer.REEM JANO
You can really seem the architectural influence in this next piece by Reem Jano. Inspired by art, fashion, geometry and the colourful culture of Egypt, there’s a little bit of Reem in every design. The Piano-Piani piece is pure perfection, made of sterling silver, finished in matte gold plate and a smattering of pearls – my favourite!
To cap it all off, this gorgeous piece by Russian sculptor, Dashi Namdakov called the Eternity Pendant is a beautiful rendition of a magician in 18k yellow gold, white gold and pink spinel, sapphire, beryl, rhodolite and citrine. Lots of texture and sculptural movement in this piece.
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*Photographed by Liza Urla.
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