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How art is inspiring this season's finest jewellery

1 July 2019By Lucia Ferigutti

High jewellery designers turn to the art world for inspiration, learns Lucia Ferigutti

Lily Gabriella

Raised between her native Brazil and Monaco, Lily Gabriella Elia was exposed to beautiful jewels in her childhood, courtesy of the impressive collection belonging to her grandmother, the philanthropist Lily Safra. After training at the Gemological Institute of America and working at Christie’s Geneva, she created her own collection with Sotheby’s Diamonds, inspired by her favourite art. Named “An Ode to Yellow”, each piece in the range is conceived around rare yellow diamonds of different shapes and sizes, often with colourful gemstones. When designing them, she looked at references ranging from Jean Nouvel’s building for the Louvre Abu Dhabi to the work of Anish Kapoor and the abstract paintings of Swedish artist Hilma af Klint. lilygabriella.com

Lily Gabriella Holi Earrings, POA.

Nina Runsdorf

You don’t need to look any further than her signature Slice Diamonds to realise that New Yorker Nina Runsdorf approaches jewellery from a unique point of view. She first stumbled across the technique on a trip to India – the stone is cut to a slice and is almost see-through, reflecting light in a softer and unusual way. Favouring natural shapes and eclectic mixes of stones, Runsdorf meets clients in her Upper East Side atelier, surrounded by many of the art pieces that have inspired each design. Her latest collection, Phoenix, is all about fun, with each diamond slice framed in a bright red or mustard enamel. ninarunsdorf.com

Nina Runsdorf Phoenix earrings, POA.


It was Dreamers Awake, a show dedicated to female surrealist artists held at London’s White Cube gallery in 2017, that inspired Prabal Gurung’s designs for Japanese jeweller Tasaki. “It was about women taking control of the narrative – and it spoke of the times,” he says.Works by Caitlin Keogh (top of page), Tracey Emin and Louise Bourgeois truly resonated. Famous for his fashion label (worn by the Duchess of Cambridge), the Singapore-born, Kathmandu- raised designer has been creative director at Tasaki since 2017 and has an affinity with pearls. “A lot of my meditation happens when I am swimming,” he says. “I respond to water intrinsically.” tasaki-global.com

Tasaki Cove Earrings with Akoya pearls, £55,300. Image courtesy of Arahama Kazuhiro.