Summer Snow captures the wistful essence of summer in a contemporary, sophisticated way that is both delicate and strong. The carved disks that have formed part of the Alice Cicolini collection for a few years have the feeling of stylised blossoms, inspired by kimono patterns where the coloured blooms cascade over geometric lines of bamboo. Drawing on these as a starting point, the collection explores the potential of the delicate crystal to transform the branches and leaves behind them into a more liquid and dreamy landscape, like a pastelised Monet.
Developing these concepts with an added Art Nouveau feeling, the intricate metalwork created for Summer Snow loops and entwines behind and across the handcarved blossom; vines are picked out with arcs of white diamonds, and the carvings set off by small bursts of colour created by tourmalines, sapphires and morganites with delicate briolettes in chalcedony, amethyst and lemon quartz. Summer Snow is named for the flurries of pollen that tumble down like snowdrifts from Moscow's 350,000 poplar trees in the heart of summer creating an otherworldly fairytale quality to the city that this collection aims to capture.
The collection now incorporates a myriad of stones from London blue topaz, iolite and rough sapphire, to rhodocrosite, carnelian, and malachite.
The sacred architecture and patterns of the Silk Route are the inspiration for Alice Cicolini’s jewellery. It is handmade in India in the studio of Kamal Kumar Meenakar, one of the last Jaipuri meenakari mastercraftsmen trained in the enamel traditions of Persia, passed down through family generations over 250 years. A family whose work is owned by the Maharajas of Patiala and Jaipur, and exhibited the world over, this craftsmanship remains of the highest quality. Miniature painters on gold, India’s meenakari masters are both artists and artisans. Unlike many traditional mastercraftsmen in India, meenakari could document their work by creating paper rubbings of the engravings they had created, preserving the level of skill into the twenty-first century through the availability of direct references to the work of their forefathers.
Known in Europe as champlevé, the meenakari enameling tradition involves engraving pattern in to the metal; in India, craftsmen prefer to work on 23.5 carat gold, the softness of the metal allowing for more detailed and expressive work, brought to life using rare enamels that have been passed down within families as heirlooms in their own right. Enamel is a combination of ground, pigmented glass and metal, heat fired into the recesses created by the engraving and then polished with agate stone to create these extraordinarily vibrant and rich colours. More commonly applied to the reverse of jewels, where the precious stones such as diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds are privileged at the forefront, meenakari is also known as “the secret”, an intimate dialogue with the gem’s wearer.
Kamal Kumar Meenakar has now been working in the enamelling tradition for generations and his father, Munna Lal, was a celebrated mastercraftsman whose work was regularly selected to represent Indian craftsmanship internationally. Meenakar can claim some of the pieces in books such as Jaipur Enamel and Dance of the Peacock as having been made within his family. The tradition of fine meenakari work is, however, almost at an end; previously commissioned on a large scale, plates, bowls and cups were all finely decorated in rich colour, vines and birds traced around their edges. Work on this scale is now a thing of the past.
Inspired by Ettore Sottsass's famous design movement, the Memphis collection enables the wearer to create totemic stacks of colour. The cold lacquer gives durability as well as offering an unlimited palette, and the pieces can be worn together or next to client’s existing jewels to add flashes of vibrant colour.
The collection comprises the celebrated Candy and Dot collections, and the new Candy Pave range.
Memphis can also be ordered in Fairtrade metals or cast with the customers own gold. Memphis rings can also be made to measure for engagement rings, special occasion rings and wedding bands, where clients can choose stones and colours to order.
The handcarved ebony forms are usually created by master-craftsmen in Jaipur as templates or maquettes for clients at the beginning of the process of commissioning 24ct gold work; later discarded. Whilst there is a tradition of ebony jewellery in India, it occupies the disposable end of the market, despite the fine quality of the carving and ebony’s status as an endangered wood. The Temple collection re-evaluates these ebony maquettes by creating lasting, fine quality pieces, combining the carving with 9ct yellow gold, rubies and diamonds.
The Stone Temple series looks to classic jewellers of the 20s & 30s, many of whom created pieces carved in stone. Created in Jaipur, these miniature sculptures are transformed into fresh and striking pieces, created in a combination of 9ct gold and white diamonds.
In 2012, Alice Cicolini collaborated with miniature painter Soghra Hosseini to create stunning handcarved maple versions of her iconic Temple Dome Rings, covered in exquisite detail. These rings are now created to order.
The pattern for the Silver Tile collection is an echo of Uzbekistan's richly tiled temple tops. One of Alice Cicolini’s most celebrated collections, the pieces are realised in sterling silver with 22ct yellow gold settings. The ring bands are available in a selection of silver and enamel, and 14ct yellow gold. Finished in lacquer, the rings are made in the UK.
The collection is now complimented with a range of earrings in oval, emerald cut and mini round shapes.
Launching in Spring 2019, Alice Cicolini brings her celebrated eye for colour to the Bridal market. Her Candy Pave range is now available in a series of major stones, from champagne diamond, to white sapphire and ruby. Engagement rings can be purchased from existing stock or commissioned to order, when stones and complimenting pave can be selected together with Alice to create a unique alternative to the standard bridal offer.
Jaipur Bougainvillea sees Alice Cicolini working with plique a jour enamel. The pieces are crafted in London, using lacquer instead of glass which bring a greater durability to a technique made famous by Rene Lalique. Inspired by the glorious burst of fuschia blossoms cascading over the classic Rajasthani Black Strap tiles. In 2018, Alice collaborated with the famous Colombian Muzo emerald mine to create two spectacular pieces, featuring their rare hexagonal stones, and celebrating the launch of a new collection of gems from the mine that focus on the natural beauty of this most imperial of jewels.