Designing jewellery to be worn everyday is not only about a striking design and great gemstones along with pocket-friendly price tags. These little jewels must be capable of withstanding the rigours of daily wear yet tell a captivating story rich in detail yet retain their charm and brilliance, day in and day out. A tall order for a small gem but an area that Stenzhorn has been perfecting for years.
According to Stenzhorn jewellery designer Anna Olivia Strarosti, getting it right is a matter of focus: “For many designers, the price of the jewel is the most important consideration. But for me, the most important thing is the story each jewel tells and how we express this in many little elements.”
Talking straight to the heart of Millennials who are hungry for experiences and making emotional connections, each jewel, however small, must have a story. To ensure each collection has a rich narrative, before making a first sketch, Ms. Strarosti and her team trawl their childhood memories and bookstores to unearth just the right tale. The stories that Stenzhorn weaves into its jewels must be short and sweet to concisely capture their essence in the language of jewels. “We focus on one or two key visual elements and then work them into the design, which is complicated as we prefer to make smaller rather than bigger items for everyday,” explains Ms. Strarosti.
Take Cupid’s Potion, a collection of adorable flowers, diamonds and arrows inspired by the scene in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream where Titania falls hopelessly in love after being given a love potion of wild pansy flowers. Through Shakespeare, Stenzhorn is bringing to life an ancient fable from Roman times when it was believed that, if Cupid’s arrow pierced a wild pansy, the elixir on the tip of his arrow would be capable of unleashing instant and irrational love for the first person the victim sees.
This romantic idea of falling instantaneously head-over-heels in love is neatly captured in the pansy flowers and arrows that make up each Cupid’s Potion jewel. The petals of the miniature flowers are alternately polished and matt to distinguish those poisoned by the arrow. Details are everywhere: the clasp of the pendant is a heart shape and the fastener is in the form of a mini arrow. What’s more, the ring has a little diamond-set heart dangling from its side and each pansy has a brilliant-cut diamond at its heart. Even the backs of the earrings are heart shaped and the arrow’s feathers are painstakingly recreated, one by one. The collection mixes rose and white gold making the jewels easier to wear with other jewels and mix and match.
More straightforward in its narrative, the adorable little insects of the Bee Mine collection tap into the universal symbolism of the bee. In Renaissance times the bee represented love while in Asia they symbolise abundance. According to myth, Cupid dips his arrow in the sweetest honey to shoot at his love target. Stenzhorn’s bees have plump, heart-shaped bodies carved out of precious stones such as pink tourmaline, rhodolite and citrine or are made up of clusters of invisibly-set emeralds, rubies or sapphires. The bees are joined by carved semi-precious stone hearts to allow the rings or bracelets to be stacked or mixed in different ways. The slender gold bands of rose gold are delicately sprinkled with diamonds, adding just a touch of sparkle to these playful jewels.
Pendants are available with silicone sliders with no back clasp that allow the bee to slide up and down, altering the length of the necklace and making it easy to slip over the head. “People sometimes forget about details in everyday jewels, but for Stenzhorn, details are everything. Being German, it is ingrained in our DNA,” says Ms. Strarosti.
Chain my Heart narrates the universal tale of the slave to love in a light-hearted way. Delicate chains of gold pass through the centre of hearts, binding the two elements together. Like a button, each heart has two eyelets through which the chain slips. The slightly concave hearts are set with a variety of gem options, from fully pavéd to a light dusting of diamonds.
Even the stylised forms of the Day and Night capsule collection, below, tell a story of enchanted gardens and innocence. “We love the shape of the butterfly but wanted to recreate it in another material to make it more affordable,” explains Ms. Strarosti. White and black mother-of-pearl, white agate and black onyx adorn each jewel and add a fashionable finish to an outfit.
The butterfly wings are made from a single piece of curved mother-of-pearl or stone, a technique that, while it gives a pleasing volume to the jewel, requires great skill to cut. On the reverse of each ring is a gallery in the shape of the wing, enabling the wearer to see the stone from the back. However small, each piece includes diamond details.
But how are these delicate little jewels strong enough to be worn everyday? “We always test the jewellery by trying on the first samples to make sure they are not easily damaged,” says Ms. Strarosti. “We are a German company so everything is controlled and we check every detail. You can easily play tennis and dance in our jewels.”