There are imaginative designers and there’s Silvia Furmanovich. The super talent from Brazil has consistently stood out in a jewelry world, jam packed with talent. Her formula for success involves a mix of unexpected materials and rarefied craftsmanship.
A few years ago, she transformed real rose petals into earrings. Don’t ask me how she did it, because I am still not sure I totally understand the technique. In 2016, she introduced her sensational Marquetry collection of jewelry and clutches. The pieces were assembled by craftsmen located in western Brazil working in age-old techniques. This year Silvia has come up with yet another wildly creative collection employing rarefied artistry.
The idea for the collection began when Silvia visited the “Divine Pleasures: Painting from India’s Rajput Courts” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and fell in love with Indian miniatures made for Rajasthan royalty from the 16th to the 19th century. A few months later, she went on a 40-day long trip to India. “The realities of what I found on the streets added to the delight I experienced in the museum,” remembers the designer. “Everything is art in India—the smells, colors, smiles, saris, gold filigree jewelry, architecture, temples and mausoleums.”
When Silvia discovered artisans in Udaipur who worked in the miniature style, she knew she wanted to include their work in her India collection. She was in awe of the art and how it was created. To make the minuscule masterworks, the artists used super fine brushes composed of the hair of a squirrel’s tail and mineral based precious pigments of crushed gems such as blue lapis and green malachite and elements, including yellow sulfur, black carbon and red iron oxide. Sculpted wood and fossilized bone, cut in the silhouettes of Indian architectural elements, form the tiny canvases. Silvia designed dazzling pendant earrings around the miniatures. The small works are framed in 18K gold and accented with diamonds and colorful gems.
While working on the collection at home in Brazil, Silvia discovered Claudio Edinger’s drone photography of India. It became another source of inspiration over the many months it took to produce the collection and part of the dreamy catalogue for the work. “In India, spiritual vision is linked to magic, pleasure and beauty,” explains Silvia. “The jewelry is part of this vision.”
The India collection by Silvia Furmanovich makes its American debut at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City on October 10.