Good morning, darlings!
I have to start out here with a confession: I’m embarrassed about the timing of this post. I saw and photographed the following jewels in early February, at Global Design. 8 months ago. This post is basically a one-month-early human child.
But Zaffiro jewelry is far too awesome for me to not share with you, so I had no choice but to get it together and show you their beautiful designs at long last anyway.
Jack Gualtieri, half of the brand’s husband and wife team, was manning the booth at Global Design and he was both friendly and welcoming – I had a nice long chat with him while photographing the many beautiful things you’re about to see.
A key part of Zaffiro jewelry’s signature style is the use of granulation, an design technique hearkening back to the ancient Etruscans. Granulation is what gives the metal on these pieces its wonderful texture.
The fabulous Nicholle of Jewelry Nerd was with me, and she and Jack had an extended conversation about granulation techniques that I did not retain because it was over my head but which I enjoyed listening to in an admiring manner. My takeaway: these people really know what they’re doing. No wonder it’s so pretty.
Here’s the quick-and-dirty explanation from Zaffiro Jewelry’s website:
“The technique, called granulation, is a decorative process that consists of applying miniature spheres of gold (or, in its modern adaptation, platinum) to a similar surface and then heating the entire piece to a temperature high enough to form a permanent bond between the surface and the spheres. If the spheres are over-fired they’ll melt onto the surface; if under-fired, they won’t adhere properly. “
Granulation appears on most Zaffiro pieces and adds an incredible depth and texture to every design it graces.
But that’s not the only thing that makes Zaffiro Jewelry unique. They have a passion for unusual stones and artifacts. I use the word “artifact” deliberately, due to the existence of this glorious thing:
This plaque is a remnant of an ancient Anglo-Saxon object – I believe Jack said he thought it had been part of some kind of decorative horse tack.
They thought it was beautiful and interesting, so they made it into a pendant. One that comes with some serious bragging rights.
“Oh this? It’s an ancient artifact. Yeah, I think it’s pretty too.”
And then there’s this lumpy beauty.
I think that this pendant looks like a magnificent fossilized caterpillar, which is definitely the strangest combination of words I’ve ever used to describe a thing that I love.
Now, wait until you see these opals.
Seriously, look at these. They’re insane. Like glorious outer space amoebas captured and attached to ear wires. I can’t get enough of them.
How amazing is the earth to have produced stones like these? It also blows my mind that Zaffiro Jewelry managed to get two such similar opals.
Zaffiro jewelry is also – if you haven’t picked up on this already – not afraid of color. Only fitting, since their name means “sapphire” in Italian. You know how I love brightly colored pieces.
Thanks to Zaffiro Jewelry for being so awesome, and particularly to Jack Gualtieri for being such an accommodating booth host and also for lending me an electrical outlet. You were all that stood between me and two hours in a Baltimore train station with nothing to read.