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November 5, 2015

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Designers add shine to jewelry world

The world of fine jewelry is made up of more than just Bulgari, Cartier and Tiffany. An impressive new generation of jewelry artists is coming to the fore, bringing with it exciting new ideas and distinctive designs.

Here are just four hot new jewelry designers worth keeping an eye on. Some of them even have creations for sale right here in Shanghai.

Fernando Jorge

Fernando Jorge’s distinct approach in combining metals and stones earned him a place on The Business of Fashion’s list of the 500 people shaping the global fashion industry.

Having started his namesake label only five years ago, the young Brazilian designer is widely considered among the brightest emerging talents in the jewelry world thanks to his sensual and organic pieces, including his signature gold snake chains. Today, he is one of the most sought after fine jewelers in London.

Brazilian jewelers and graduating with a master’s degree in jewelry design at Central St Martins, the Sao Paolo-born designer says he is driven by a passion for craftsmanship as well as his Brazilian roots. “I would certainly credit my approach to color and movement to my Brazilian heritage. On the other hand, I would credit my ability to translate these subjective ideas into my designs to my studies in London,” Jorge said. “British education gave me a deep understanding of culture and traditions and the approach to design (there) is unlike anywhere else.”

Jorge loves the variety found in nature, but he has a special fondness for tourmalines and the different colors they manifest, from the intense pinks of Rubellites to the incredible blues of Paraiba. He often explores the stones’ possibilities by combining them with metals and other materials native to Brazil.

“From my first contact with jewelry, I have been designing and working alongside craftsmen to achieve my final results. I still work with craftsmen in Sao Paolo to produce all my pieces as we have a long history of working and learning together,” Jorge said.

His pieces, he says, can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of years to finalize. “It depends on the complexity.”


Inspired by the unexpected curves of water streaming over smooth surfaces, Stream pieces swirl gently over the skin in continuous lines, expanding upon the fluid themes of Jorge’s earlier collections in bolder and more vigorous gestures. The new collection also reflects his commitment to pushing the perimeters of fine jewelry design.

Chalcedony, pink opal, milky aquamarine and labradorite are brought to life through fluid and delicate carvings, according to Jorge.

Here in Shanghai, pieces from his latest collection can be found at the TrustLuxe showroom.

Noor Fares

The face of fine jewelry today is evolving and one of its brightest young stars is London-based Lebanese designer Noor Fares.

After obtaining a degree in the history of art from Tufts University, Fares eventually shifted her focus to jewelry making. In 2009, she launched her own eponymous jewelry label.

“Setting up my brand happened organically after I sold my first collection ever to Harrods in London,” Fares said.

Today, her pieces can be found at stockists such as Dover Street Market, Browns and Matches in London, WhiteBird in Paris, Bergdorf Goodman in New York and Trustluxe in Shanghai.

While continuing to grow her business, Fares also pursued post-graduate studies at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design in London, where she received a master’s in fine jewelry design last year.

Fares’ passion for travel, art and culture is at the core of her jewelry designs.

“I strive to create pieces that are timeless and innovative, and at the same time are imbued with a strong narrative,” she said. “I usually do a lot of visual research and put a lot of thought into my design process. I get inspired by architecture, sacred geometry, minerals and amulets across cultures.”

“I was lucky to learn about different cultures from Lebanon, France and the United Kingdom. Those experiences have all contributed to the person I am today. In my work, there are references to the places I have visited, and places that influence my thinking,” Fares said.

Fares communicates her attachment to her Middle-Eastern heritage in subtle, sometimes abstract ways. For instance, in a nod to Arabic culture and superstition, she often hides blue sapphires in her pieces, a stone which represents protection against the “evil eye.”

Atelier Mystique

The young designer recently launched a line of one-off creations called Atelier Mystique. This line, she says, “centers on symbolism, light and the power of stones. Stones are called upon like talismans, communicating a myriad of messages for the wearer to discover. Geometry runs as a constant narrative through the collection, with references to mystic doubling and scared trinities of form.”

Fares designs for women of all ages and styles.

Lama Hourani

Jordan native Lama Hourani has established herself as a trendsetter with her bold, one-of-a-kind jewelry creations.

“My inspiration started in Jordan... and extended to all corners of the world,” she said.

A web of cultures runs throughout her jewelry. As an avid traveller, Hourani has drawn inspiration from a variety of global sources. Peruvian Inca symbols, Masai tribal colors, Arabian vernacular architectural details and prehistoric art are all blended into fine metal and gem works.

Growing up in an artistic family — which founded Foresight32, the first private art gallery in Jordan — art and design is in Hourani’s genes. Hourani said she developed a love for jewelry as a child when she used to drag her mother to local shops. She started collecting crystals, sea rocks and restyling her accessories as a teenager.

Hourani created her first collection in the family gallery’s kitchen with basic tools and a silversmith who taught her the fundamentals of jewelry making.

Her first collection, launched back in 2000 was a big hit. This early success prompted her to continue her studies in jewelry design and gemology. She now creates jewelry for well-traveled and confident women.

“Behind each jewelry piece there is a story that extends from the very beginning of the inspiration process. There is a spot in the world that triggered that particular design,” Hourani said. “Travel is my biggest inspiration. By discovering different cultures and experiences and sourcing semi-precious stones, my mind absorbs images, colors and music that I later translate into sketches. They bring bits and pieces of my most loved moments into my jewelry.”

Global influence

The latest collection in Hourani’s silver line is Burkina Faso, inspired by the art and culture of the country of the same name.

As for fine jewelry, the Tales of Persia line is an impactful collection with vivacious colors and ultra-rich textures. Crafted in 18-karat yellow gold and set with stunning precious gems and diamonds, the line was inspired by Arabesque close-ups and geometry. Pieces echo old alleys, arches and doors, fusing sweet and endearing moments with a hint of mystery.

“As for my signature Evolution of Rock collection, which I launched my fine jewelry line with, I have reimagined what a diamond is... by pushing the limits and creating a completely new concept that is versatile, new and fun to wear.”

Her experience living in Italy, Jordan, Spain, Thailand and Shanghai has helped her create various collections that suit different tastes and markets.

“I like to offer diverse styles while maintaining the essence and signature of the brand. I never restrict my artistic vision. That’s the beauty of the brand — both men and women enjoy the eccentric appeal of the jewelry and its handmade aspects,” she said.

Violet Guo

Born with a love for beautiful things and a fascination with antique arts and jewelry, Violet Guo says her heart belonged to jewelry design from the very beginning.

“The beauty of antique jewelry lays in the complicated details and layers that are so perfectly composed from imperfect lines,” Guo said.

When it comes to precious stones, Guo sees them as serendipitous gifts from the earth.

“Making a stone requires a particular temperature and pressure, combined with natural chemical processes. It is created over centuries. It’s fate whether it is discovered one day by humans. Isn’t that such a romantic notion?” she continued.

Because of this “romantic” interest, Guo went on to study gemstones in depth. She now has certificates from the International Gemological Institute and is a GAA certified gemologist.

She created the jewelry brand Centauri Lucy a decade ago, channeling her fascination with by-gone periods into high-end jewelry pieces.

“My attraction with art history inspired me a lot, especially the Renaissance period,” Guo said. “However, sometimes inspiration can be from something in nature I see during a walk, a conversation with friends, a book, a poem — the list goes on.”

Her design style can be described as a mix of “artistic” and “dreamy.” In Centauri Lucy collections, yellow, white and rose gold are all used to good effect with different stones and designs.

“After a sketch is completed, we always start with sculpting wax to transform the sketch into a ‘body.’ Then there will be many alterations, sometimes restarts,” Guo said. “Recently we have started to explore 3D printing for some pieces. It is interesting to explore different crafting technologies.”

Heritage collection

The latest line from Centauri Lucy is the Heritage Collection. Guo says the Baroque, Art Nouveau and Art Deco schools inspired the collection.

“I believe in the creative force that is behind the brand, and which drives the brand in a unique direction. Our customers care about craftsmanship, and choose us because of our fine craftsmanship and diligent design,” Guo said.

Guo would describe her wearers as self-empowered women who like to buy jewelry for themselves.

Centauri Lucy can be found in Catie Lo Shanghai, located at 105-03 Wukang Rd.


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