Jewelry for the Modern Classicist

Jewelry for the Modern Classicist

This Thursday and Friday we are thrilled to be hosting my dear friend, Ray Griffiths at our Uptown store for a trunk show.  Ray's work has always inspired me because he truly tells a story with each and everyone of his pieces.  His work honors an artistry, tradition and craftsmanship that dates back thousands of years.

Reliquary Pendant with Virgin and Child. Gold featuring amethyst, emeralds, rubies, pearls, semiprecious stones and niello. Walters Art Museum.

The art of jewelry design reached the height of importance during the Renaissance with artists like Giulio Romano, Sandro Botticelli, Benvenuto Cellini, and renowned architect Giberto Brunelleschi.  Renaissance jewels shared the age's passion for splendor.  Works became more elaborate and colorful.  During this time designs reflected the new-found interest in the classical world with figures and scenes from mythology becoming popular. The developments in exploration and trade meant that a wider variety of materials were available.  Emeralds, rubies, diamonds, topaz, amazonite, garnet, and amethyst began to be used more commonly, along with pearls.  In particular, Baroque pearls that had an irregular shape, were very popular and featured in many jewelry designs... trust me when I saw Ray's Baroque pearl drops make their predecessors proud.

South China Sea White Pearls on 18kt gold hooks.  

Available at Sotre Collection

Today the artistry of metal work and jewelry continues in Ray's pieces. The crownwork technique, Ray's trademark is an intricate technique inspired by the historic tradition of hollowing out metal that was original seen in European tiaras and crowns.  He trained as an apprentice, in the European tradition, working such regal pieces from a slightly later period - the 17th-19th century.  

There is a subtle elegance in his work, yet the pieces are recognizable to the  knowing eye.  The coded luxury inherent in his pieces make for something truly timeless.  Like all great designers Ray seamlessly blends the old and new, creating what he so eloquently deems "a modern classic."

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