Belle is Stenzhorn’s latest jewelry collection and as we have come to expect from this German house, the Belle tells a story in precious metals and gemstones. The six different designs pay homage to the bellflower and the delicate beauty of this small yet strong little bud, a reminder of the frailty of Nature and our duty to protect it.
While many varieties of this wild flower quietly blossom around the globe, it is the Campanella Ipomoeia Aquatica that is the focus of this collection. This edible flower is made up of a single white petal tinged with pink or yellow towards its centre. The bell-shape shape is carefully replicated in rings, necklaces and earrings in white gold and set with diamonds and either pink sapphires or more yellow diamonds. And while the shape of the flower is easily recognized, these jewels also tell us about the folklore of this particular bloom.
Legend has it that this petite yet mighty little plant was responsible for nothing less than saving Nature. In the mists of time, Earth was a garden paradise, rich with enchanting scented blooms. However, like in so many creation myths, Mother Nature became angered at Man’s destruction so decided to take from Earth all her precious flowers and keep them safe in her own secret garden where they were lovingly tended by fairies. One of these winged guardians was curious and decided to escape and see the world for herself. So saddened by the lack of beauty on Earth, on the first day of Spring, the rebellious fairy returned and planted a bellflower on top of a mountain. The fairy chose the simple beauty of the bellflower over more showy or colorful blooms as she thought this was the prettiest flower she had ever seen. The purity of the fairy’s intention had the power to give Man hope that they could change and make their world a beautiful place once again.
This story, so relevant today to our concerns about the environment, is brought to life in each Belle jewel through many details, each cleverly integrated into the design. Stenzhorn is able to weave these intricate stories in gold and precious metals thanks to the integration of creativity and technique.
Founder of the brand Klaus Stenzhorn explains: ‘To recreate the exact shape of the flower, we made a plasticine model so that model-makers could recreate the flower perfectly. We have done this in the past for other flower jewels such as chrysanthemums and poppies where it is key to capture the uneven delicacy of the flower.’
The stone-settings play their part too and the diamond baguettes are set into fine gold channels that mimic the minute veins of the petal that carry diamond water drops to the plant. But it is not enough just to achieve realism in shape. The colours are true to life and white gently fades into pavé of pink sapphires or yellow diamonds. And also, as well as looking very natural the design is kept as light and thin as possible making them easy to wear everyday. All of this is possible thanks to Stenzhorn’s mastery of precision setting techniques perfected over decades in their workshops. But there is more, the fairies from the legend are also present in each jewel.
The two rings in with either pink sapphires or yellow diamonds curl around the finger with a shank in the shape of a stem, tipped with a diamond. Sitting on the stem, sheltered by the petal hides a gold winged fairy. Turn the ring or stud earrings over and the gallery that supports the petal is decorated with swirling shapes reminiscent of the scrolls of the ornate first letters of an old-fashioned fairy story.
Even more whimsical is the diamond bellflower necklace. Only by gently pulling on one of the diamond-set chain that adjusts the length of the necklace, does a golden fairy emerge from her hiding place inside the flower. Just like in the fairy tales, this shy fairy lives in a bellflower.
The second necklace on a slender white gold chain dotted with diamonds, matches the pink sapphire and diamond ring and earrings. But the largest and most impressive piece of the collection is the multi-strand necklace with a yellow-diamond bellflower at its centre. But despite the number of gemstones and the size of the jewels, they maintain a flower-like grace and airiness. ‘I wanted to focus on the bellflower in each jewel which is why the rest of the elements are quite simple. The necklaces are on chains and most of the small details are hidden away,’ explains Mr. Stenzhorn.
If you are like me, you may have fallen in love at first sight with the Belle jewels, discovering their inspiration and their hidden secrets, makes them even more endearing.
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