The allure of shiny gold jewellery

Polished gold puts the focus on form, lending itself to three-dimensional pieces that have a quiet but undeniable power.

By Rachel Garrahan 29/03/2017

Researchers believe humans are attracted to shiny objects — whether they it's a beautiful jewel or a glossy luxury car — because of our primitive need for water. Certainly, looking at yellow gold that has been polished to a high sheen is like looking in the reflective glow of a sunlit pool.

For jewellers who use the material as the main event (relegating diamonds and gemstones to a supporting role), polished gold puts the focus on the form, allowing them to create three-dimensional pieces that have a quiet but undeniable power.

For Greek jeweller Elena Votsi, the warm reflective gleam of polished yellow gold is the perfect canvas for creating her wearable sculptures. "Polished gold is like a mirror," says Votsi. "It reflects and catches the light. It's shiny, it's clean, it's in balance with the skin."

Her minimalist Line ring is an example of the power of shiny gold; it is a simple twist of gold around the finger punctuated by Gemfields emeralds, yet it makes a bold statement.

A hybrid of art and jewellery, Elena's work calls to mind the purity of form captured by modernist sculptor Constantin Brancusi. Many of his works have a warm sheen that is in harmony with the graceful lines and curves of his sculptures.

Brancusi, in turn, was one of the inspirations for the Vram collection's new Continuum series by Los Angeles jeweller Vram Minassian. A jeweller for private clients for more than 30 years, Minassian unveiled his first eponymous collection in 2016.

His voluminous, tactile sculptural designs are riffs on infinity, the cosmos, mathematics, and engineering. Rings such as his Echo design have a dramatic sense of movement, and despite their large scale, are painstakingly crafted by Vram and his team of goldsmiths to sit perfectly on the finger.

"When the piece comes to life, you want it to look seamless and balanced, and feel amazing to the touch," he explained.

Mania Zamani's jewellery collection is influenced by the architecture of her native Iran and her adopted home of New York. Her East West collection examines the influence of ancient Persian geometric forms on the modern skyscrapers of today, such as the soaring Hearst Tower, which inspired the bold and polished lines of her earrings of the same name.

Designer Michal Kadar uses the warm gleam of yellow gold to communicate the movement and volume of her Cadar jewellery designs. The Endless cocktail ring is a full heart that opens to reveal additional hearts inside, echoing what the designer says are the butterflies-in-the-stomach rush of new love.

Spinelli Kilcollin translated its wildly successful Galaxy rings to the wrist with the Sabine Pavé Linked, a stack of high-polished bracelets in rose and yellow gold together with one of contrasting brown diamonds. Connected by smaller bands, they make a satisfying clink sound as you move.

These jewels show that less is sometimes more. For Votsi, the power lies in the simplicity of a good design: "Beauty is simple, nature is simple, feelings are simple too. So, why jewellery must be complicated?" (elenavotsi.com, maniazamani.com, vramjewelry.com, spinellikillcollin.com, cadarjewelry.com)

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