Surely nothing could be more vivid than that magic carpet of many colours leading up the noble carved staircase at the Carlos Place salon of Solange Azagury-Partridge?
The jewellery designer loves every bright shade, for wallpaper or wall paint — as in the sunshine yellow and shocking pink of the rooms where she showed, this week, her latest collection: Chromance.
One glance was all that was needed to understand that Solange’s invented word was all about the romance of colour: shades so bright that the super-natural emerald green, rose pink tourmaline and aquamarine, set in blackened white-gold rings, looked like some primeval survivors of a volcano.
This was a close encounter of the third kind, with nature at its most intense. The showrooms, dotted with bouquets of flowers and seen in sunlight streaming through windows in plain or stained glass, had an unearthly brilliance.
The jewels, in keeping with the Solange spirit, were as surreal as their names. My favourite was Chromaphiliac — earrings in bright bobbles of cabochon-cut stones and a variety of colours from orange to ox-blood. A necklace made in a similar style had the effect of children’s sweeties, heaped artfully together.
«There are lots of juicy cabochon stones — suggesting a real edible quality», said Solange, who, in this first new collection in two years, both re-inforced and enlarged her aesthetic scope.
Her attachment to nature came through in a Pomander cluster of fire opals, forming a glowing orange pendant that opened to reveal a small scoop of cloves inside, as if from a medieval history.
Some pieces were carved from traditional materials, such as the yellow gold gypsy earrings engraved with wavy circles that were used also for irregularly curved bracelets. One of those, with the mysterious title of El Dorado as Sin, was slipped into a purple silk cover which was designed to shred with time to reveal flashes of gold.
«My whole jewellery life has been looking at how jewels were made through the ages», said the designer, who has just opened a Paris store (with a pink and purple interior, of course) as part of the Hotel Costes on the Rue Saint-Honoré just south of the jewellers’ haven in the Place Vendôme.
It is rare to find, in these days of corporate owners of historic jewellery labels, a modern creator who is also a curator. From the dizzying colours in the catalogue of Chromance, through the jewels that include a ruby bangle with upticks like a heartbeat register, Solange Azagury-Partridge fulfils her mission to make jewels that are inventive but relevant.
Even the prices are enticing. The big stones and bolder pieces go up to £108,000. But for well under £10,000 there are striking rings and earrings. While «Blades» of diamond and grass green enamel earrings are £5,300.
The entry point is a «Pink» ring — with those enamelled letters spelled out in lacquer on a yellow-gold ring for £1,500. And you get a view of the store’s magic carpet thrown in.