Thursday, June 17, 2010


It is springtime in Switzerland so it is a great time to explore the country's attractions including the world-famous Alps; and the blooming foliage and lakes of Geneva. Switzerland is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Marielle Byworth.

As I stated in another post, timeless or classic form does not necessarily have to be something recognizable like a heart or circle.

In my mind, purity of form can also be a little off-center, a little irregular as embodied by the renowned creations of Finnish brand Lapponia Jewelry.

Through her four-year-old company, Marijoli, Byworth's design aesthetic is based in clean arrangements blended with striking and unusual details.

A graduate of Switzerland's Graphic Art School of Swiss Romande, as well as the University of Art and Design of Lausanne, the artist married into one of London's most renowned fine, bespoke jewelry manufacturers, H.A. Byworth & Company.

In 2005, she shared a residence with her husband and his two jeweler brothers.  The siblings provided Byworth with a great learning experience. "My brother-in-laws would consult with me about the creation of new pieces. They were completely insane but they changed the way I looked at the world," she recalls.

"They spent their evenings talking about the merits of being a part of such a unique business. I couldn’t say no to them."

In the following year, her jet setting excursions spent diving in the waters of the Maldives; on holiday in St. Tropez; and ultimately setting up residence in Tokyo, Japan would dictate the style of the items she made for personal use.

Her distinctive ability of interpreting forms in nature caught the admiring gazes of many who commissioned her talents to create pieces for their own personal collections.

Taking a more spiritual approach to design, Byworth's design palette broadened meshing together influences from the opulence of Marie Antoinette to American heiress Barbara Hutton.

"Jewelry is not only about carats and millions of dollars. Jewelry has a force of evocation which, surprisingly, dresses, handbags, and hats do not have," she explains.

"I always carry a sketchbook because I find inspiration in all of my surroundings. I love juxtaposing precious stones with modern materials that are considered of lesser value giving the piece a less excessive aspect while also holding some mystery."

With the exception of one of her Dragon on Fire rings--a composite of sterling silver, black onyx, and rubies that resembles a three-tier cake--the bijouterie featured on her website, like the Elema Bracelet, are free form.

The elongated, perforated metalwork is sleek, sexy, and elegant while also being reminiscent of futuristic mechanisms. The jewelry is an intriguing marriage of earthy and ethereal, striking and sophisticated.

The Marijoli brand is currently distributed worldwide in Geneva, San Diego, California, Paris, London, and Istanbul.

The jewelry has dangled from the famous wrists, necks, and earlobes of Kate Moss, Nelly Furtado, and Madonna.

Photo 1 (top right): Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver Maying Bracelet
Photo 2 (center): Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver Dragon on Fire Ring with Rubies and Carved Black OnyxPhoto 3 (bottom left): Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver Elema Necklace
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