Elizabeth Taylor once said, “Jewelry has the power to be the one little thing that makes you feel unique.” And indeed, when that jewelry is crafted by the hands of an artist, the feeling is extraordinary.
For jewelry artists Luciano Bortone, Isabelle Posillico, and Paul Farmer, they feel their work is akin to creating miniature sculptures. Not only do they meticulously select every stone and metal that goes into their pieces, they continually push the limits with their compositions and on what’s possible fine jewelry.
Luciano was first introduced to opal when visiting an uncle in Coober Pedy, Australia, formerly the opal capital of the world. He was enamored. Immersing himself in the opal and jewelry-making world, Luciano’s career took off in short order.
The retailer Nordstrom took to his designs and began selling some of his signature pieces. Eventually, however, Luciano wanted to explore what was possible beyond these designs, so he struck out on his own path and never looked back.
The versatility of the stone is what pushes Luciano to create unique pieces. “You have to be very creative to set these kinds of stones because they don’t conform to any shape,” he said. “Opals come in so many shapes and it pushes my ability to design around them.”
Similarly, Isabelle Posillico allows the unique stones she hand selects to influence the designs of her pieces. Often drawing on her interior architecture background to “architect” her pieces, she allows the characteristics of the stone to shine through. The architect part of her brain also comes through in the planning of her pieces––Isabelle strives for beauty and function.
“It’s amazing that nature makes those beautiful pieces that are just flawless,” she said.
For Paul Farmer, gemologist and goldsmith, seeking out gems is part of the thrill of his work. When he finds a stone he loves, he doesn’t hesitate to add it to his collection.
“If you find something that you haven’t seen in a long time, you just buy it because you may not see it again for another three to four years,” he said.
Artistry and mastery is event throughout Paul’s entire process, from the careful selection of each gemstone to composition to the forging of the precious metal that encapsulates the stone. Paul uses a special torch that requires circular breathing to operate, so he is literally breathing into each piece as he shapes it.
For each of these multi-talented artists, quality and craft is at the forefront as they combine precious materials to create art that is timeless and completely unique.