Sicis jewels are unlike any others. The impossible brilliance of colors, the richness of details and the extravagance of effects have a magnetic appeal. How can streams of color flow around gemstones like water, diamonds melt into the fur of a sinuous panther or flowers be so very lifelike? The enigma behind Sicis’ awe-inspiring techniques captures the imagination like few other jewels.
At first sight, you may think these intriguing effects are created using enamel. But this is not the case; these miniature masterpieces are made of micro mosaic tiles or tesserae, meticulously arranged to create myriad effects.
At the heart of each Sicis jewels is the process of creating the tesserae. Sicis Jewels has patented its technique for creating jewel-like tesserae from a blend of 10% silica and 90% precious minerals such as diamonds and color gemstones or even gold. These are crushed and melted at 1,400º centigrade to create a rainbow of colors. The molten mix is hand formed into rods and can be manipulated into many shapes. The tesserae are cut from these rods, ready to be placed into each small-scale work of art.
A look at some of the new arrivals presented this March in Geneva reveals the intricacy of Sicis’ workmanship and the high jewelry Incanto necklace (above) is one of the most complicated to produce. The looped structure of the necklace is made in white gold set with diamonds, and scoops up in its folds light pink kunzites and cherry bright rubellites. Between the loops are miniature micro mosaic ‘paintings’ of mauve and pink flowers, each petal so detailed it could almost flutter in a breeze. Gold thread is used to form the outline of the micro mosaic flowers creating a more opulent appearance and adding a three dimensional effect. Look closely and you can see that round, rectangular, triangular and semi-circular shaped tesserae are used as an artist would apply different brush strokes. Particularly interesting are the two-tone circles called giacchette. The complex process of placing one color rod inside another, requires two micro mosaic artists to work in synchronicity. When sliced, the concentric rings of color are revealed.
The brand new Iris Mauve high jewelry (above) is also floral inspired but in a very different style. The necklace is a shimmering garland of delicate iris flowers that drape around the neck as if freshly picked from a woodland glade. Each lifelike petal is set with almost one hundred tesserae made from ground up jadeite for the green and a mix of jadeite, citrine quartz and yellow sapphire for the lighter shades. The tips of each petal are dusted in white diamonds and where it curls over, a diamond pavé is revealed. Just like dewdrops, glossy diamonds and amethyst are dropped into this naturalistic scene.
The Damisa Ice high jewellery necklace (above) is one of Sicis Jewels’ signature designs that dramatically brings together craftsmanship and daring design. This ‘Ice’ version follows on from the first Damisa, named for Tanzania’s native leopard known for its grace and distinctive markings. This version features a panther, its elegance and majesty captured in a dazzling composition of diamonds and micro mosaic that took over 400 hours to make. The black and white pattern of the leopard’s fur is replicated in exquisite detail. Set flush with the mantle of the tesserae, the diamonds appear to merge into the fur. Two rubies are the panther’s piercing eye and from its paw dangles a rubellite drop.
Gemstones play a central role in the Tesserae range that features impressive stones, enhanced by micro mosaic motifs. The LifeRound ring (above) is a one of kind design with a jacket set with micro mosaic surrounding in the shape of stylized flower petals. The 9.7-carat tourmaline solitaire can be worn on its own or with the jacket to change the look of the ring.
Launched in 2022, the Ribbon collection continues to grow with new colour variations. Sitting at the centre of the Green Ribbon (above) is a peridot, its verdant refractions intensified by the blue and green of the micro mosaics. The ribbon has been tied into a loose bow and it is decorated with a highly-detailed peacock feather pattern, the effect enhanced by the use of giacchette tesserae. The flowing lines of the jewel belie the complexity of setting different shaped tiles into the undulating surface of the ribbon to simulate printed silk. Blue sapphires trim the edges and tsavorites entirely cover the back of the ribbon.
Since 2014, the butterfly has become the most recognizable Sicis Jewels design. The kaleidoscope of butterflies reflects the multitude of effects that different patterns and permutations of colors can achieve. The Pearly Eye Nymphalia butterfly is breath taking in its realism, the insect’s delicate markings a near perfect replica. Sicis mimics the dots of colored powder on the wings using a wide range of hues and shapes of tesserae. Giacchette tesserae are used to stunning effect to recreate the characteristic ‘eye’ markings of the Pearly Eye Nymphalia butterfly.
To understand the techniques mastered by Sicis Jewels allows a fuller appreciation of the value of each jewel. Freed from the constraints of traditional jewelry, tesserae offer an almost limitless palette of colors, textures and tones that Sicis Jewels combines with gemstones in perfect yet unexpected harmony.
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