Beautiful ways to get your rays
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Guilloché, a traditional mechanical engraving technique often seen on watch dials, is increasingly appearing in jewellers’ collections, turning what could be a blank slate of gold into intricate, light-reflecting patterns.
Foundrae employs the motif in its gold heart medallions, which can be customised with symbols and letters; Lucy Delius uses fluting radiating out from a central marquise-cut diamond, as on the sunray pendant; Dior’s Rose des Vents line features engraving on the face of a sun.
Earlier this year, Chaumet launched a whole series inspired by guilloché, the Jeux de Liens Harmony Medallions, with its signature fine jewellery line reimagined into delicate “sunburst” beams of light.
Van Cleef & Arpels has employed the mechanical technique since the 1910s, to “spark an intense whirlwind of light that captivates the gaze”, says the maison’s CEO and president Nicolas Bos. The latest Alhambra collection, launching this month, includes a necklace, ring and bracelet featuring sunburst engraving within the line’s signature four-leaf clover. “With the use of the guilloché effect, the motif takes on a contemporary style, all the while paying tribute to the first long necklace ever created, which was in creased yellow gold,” adds Bos.
At Milan-based Buccellati, the effect is achieved with intricate hand-engraving. “The techniques we have adopted use manual burins: ancient goldsmithing tools composed of a particularly shaped tip,” says its creative director Andrea Buccellati. For its iconic cuff bracelets, the “rigato” engraving is composed of parallel lines, while the drop-shaped pendant earrings are radially carved. “Engraving is for us a way of decorating a jewel and making it even more beautiful.”