Ornella Iannuzzi's awesome opals

I have been looking at Ornella's collections for several years and it is 'Lucy in Wonderland' that has really grabbed my attention.French jeweller Ornella Iannuzzi is somewhat obsessed with the recently discovered Ethiopian Wello opals and she went all the way to their land of origin for her latest collection.

Ornella Iannuzzi: The Blue Nile Falls pendant. Made with a 20 cts hand-carved Wello opal set in 18k gold with a brilliant cut diamond, and mounted on rough diamonds (42cts). Unique Piece. £12,500.

I have been looking at Ornella's collections for several years and it is 'Lucy in Wonderland' that has really grabbed my attention.French jeweller Ornella Iannuzzi is somewhat obsessed with the recently discovered Ethiopian Wello opals and she went all the way to their land of origin for her latest collection. Ornella Iannuzzi is unlike other jewellers. While many say they are inspired by nature,  none do it quite like Ornella. Don't expect pretty posies or girlie whisps of blossom as Ornella prefers to look at the awe-inspiring, all-powerful, thundering, erupting and exploding earth-shifting forces of Nature. And then she changes the tempo and scales down to the smallest details such as honey dripping from the comb. Born in the  Alps, you can feel the raw power of Nature that must have impressed a young Ornella as she gazed at the majestic  mountains that dwarf all around them. Ornella turns her fascination with the genesis of the planet into jewels that are miniature landscapes. Some capture the moment bubbling lava rises to the earth's crust, others the seismic shifts that rumble the earth apart, create seas or the deafening force of water falls. The Dallol earrings are inspired by rippling forms of salt pools in the Danakil desert - there has to be poetry in that. Ornella set off for Ethiopia to find inspiration for this particularly beautiful set of jewels. I love her photographic account of the journey on her Facebook page ( click here to go there) that helps to understand her unique world view and just how far she goes in pursuit of her art. The entire collection is based around the Wello opal that was discovered in 2008 in the Wello province of Ethiopia, west of the capital Addis Ababa. The Gemological Institute of America has compared the quality of these newcomers to similar stones found in Australia and Brazil and reports: "We noted all spectral colors in the play-of-color in our samples," which is a good thing for an opal. When wet, the stones become transparent and then return to their milky beauty with a light show that I like to compare to the shape-shifting mystery of the Northern Lights. Ornella is an admirer of René Lalique's work evident in her observation of nature and willingness to experiment with materials and techniques.

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