Do you know what granulation is? I had an idea, but I didn’t truly understand what it was until I met Jack and Elizabeth Gualtiere of Zaffiro at the Couture show. Granulation is an ancient goldsmithing technique which is, “…a decorative process that consists of applying minute spheres of gold to a surface of similar gold alloy and then heating the entire piece to a temperature high enough to form a permanent bond between the surface and the spheres.” Impressive, right? Take a look at this pair of earrings. As described by Elizabeth, “These are our one-of-a-kind classic “Fern Curl” earrings that are set with amethyst briolettes and teal diamonds in granulated 22kt yellow gold, with 18kt yellow gold posts.”
Being a fan of all shades of aqua, I was immediately drawn to the hue of this necklace in their case. The pendant is the surface skin of an aquamarine, which is very reminiscent of Roman Glass. It’s basically what the stone looks like when it comes out of the ground. J’Adore.
Jack and Elizabeth originally discovered Etruscan granulation while on a study abroad program during college. They began working together 22+ years ago, and they were friends before the whole dating/marriage thing. (Love that!) They live and work in Portland, Oregon, where each piece is completely hand-crafted. I thought it was so interesting that they consult on each others’ designs, yet each one makes their own pieces from start to finish. Apparently Jack is more drawn to architectural, geometric designs, while Elizabeth gravitates towards curves. Though through it all, granulation is the core, common thread.
These two pendants begged to be tried on, and who am I to ignore jewelry saying, “Hello, Amy!” These are Anglo Saxon bronzes from the 6th Century, which were dug up in London. They truly take “one-of-a-kind” jewelry to the next level!
While 22K gold is their main medium, they have also added oxidized silver to their repertoire. Their Etrusco group showcases their metal work, alongside colorful gems.
The cuffs in this series blew me away, Here’s one I tried on at the show.
And here’s another design from the same collection they recently posted on social media. The main stone is Australian boulder opal, accented with teal and white diamonds.
These “nebula” cuffs, part of the Etrusco series, are, “..inspired by the imagery of distant constellations, points of light against a dark universe, and the harmony of seemingly randomly arranged objects..” I completely see it, don’t you?
While speaking with Jack and Elizabeth, I couldn’t help but notice the color of this bracelet, as it wasn’t rose gold, yet I couldn’t quite nail down what I was looking at. It is apparently a new patina they’ve been working on called the “orchid patina.” It’s still in the experimental stages, and they have yet to achieve the color on gold. I would not be surprised if this has now been accomplished.
I was e-mailing with Elizabeth this week, and she shared this image of a new necklace, most definitely fit for a princess! It is a one-of-a-kind Etrusco pendant, set with a tanzanite cabochon, purple sapphires, teal diamonds and a mint green tourmaline in 22kt yellow gold, with forged and oxidized sterling silver. They truly have a gift with color.
If you’d like to take a closer look into the intensely complex process of making a custom piece, then you’ll most certainly enjoy this 4 minute video. I know I did!
I likely took up a bit too much time asking a million questions of this dynamic design duo, but I truly appreciated every moment of it. I am very excited to see their most current designs at Couture again this year!