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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Suzanne Syz New High Jewelry And Her Elizabeth Taylor Connection

'Ali Baba's Trove' titanium ring topped with a 55-carat Mozambique paraiba with reverse-set diamonds that appear like spikes.

Suzanne Syz, an interior decorator and avid modern art collector, was frustrated with the luxury jewelry that was available—which she found heavy, uncomfortable and designed for a bygone era. 

“It tended to make you look older,” Syz said in a New York hotel room where she was showing her new collection to clients and press. Their public unveiling will be at Masterpiece London, June 25 – July 1. 

Mushroom brooch and ring with yellow gold and silver paved with diamonds and sprinkled with red spinels and emeralds.

This frustration led her to start creating her own jewelry about 15 years ago. One of her first pieces was a turquoise necklace that she wore to lunch with none other than Elizabeth Taylor. The iconic actress and world famous jewelry collector admired the necklace so much that she bought it.

It was quite a way to start a career. Since then, in a relatively short amount of time, Syz has developed a reputation for being one of the world’s top high jewelry artists. Under the name Suzanne Syz Art Jewels, she and her small staff of craftsmen produce about 50 one-of-kind pieces per year from a workshop in Geneva where she lives. It is the only place where one can buy her jewelry outside of her travels. Her clientele, as one would expect, are those with wealth, power and taste. They include Princess Glora von Thurn und Taxis, the Archduchess Francesca von Habsburg-Thyssen and actress Michelle Yeoh.

Sapphire earrings encased micropearls that is airy and delicate in appearance while being durable and flexible

Her pieces are light and lively and are contemporary interpretations of traditional high jewelry themes—such as nature, childhood and fairy tales. She will use pretty much any gem or metal as long as it is of high quality and often finds new uses for traditional materials. 

Her appreciation of contemporary art began in the 1980s when she lived in New York and ran in the same circles as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons. Her jewelry reflects those influences. 

Titanium cuff enhanced with large sliced diamonds

“My pieces are understated, fun and on the creative side—while always using the best materials,” she says.

Titanium is used for many pieces in her new collection. She says gem colors really shine in contrast with the metal. She also admires its strength, durability and adaptability. It also is one of the lightest known metals. 

“I like it when you don’t see the material too much,” she says. “You can put stones in it without it getting heavy. Jewelry has to be comfortable.”

A purple Burmese sapphire cabochon is encased with twisted purple titanium sprinkled with diamonds 

In the new collection, titanium is used in many colors and often paved with colored gems or diamonds. A ring made of titanium is topped with a 55-carat Mozambique Paraiba. The side of the ring features reverse-set diamonds that appear like spikes and give the piece texture. Titanium strands are twisted and curved in a variety of different ways and paved with diamond or colored gems for rings and earrings. It also is used for a wide chunky (but lightweight) cuff, enhanced with large sliced diamonds.

Gems range from green-blue Mozambican paraiba and pear-shaped red spinels to more traditional emeralds and blue sapphires. 

'Shanghai Lilly' Earrings in titanium, jade, sapphires and diamonds

One of the boldest pieces in the new collection is a mushroom brooch with yellow gold and silver paved with diamonds and sprinkled with red spinels and emeralds.

Tiny pearls “micropearls” are used in ways that challenged the craftsmen, Syz says. For example, curved rows of these pearls extend outward from an emerald for a ring; and they encase sapphire earrings in an elaborate egg-shaped cage that is both airy and delicate in appearance while being durable and flexible. 


Emerald ring with curved rows of micropearls

Syz says the fun and whimsy expressed in her pieces may fool admirers into not recognizing them as high-priced, high jewelry. That’s fine with Syz who prefers to not discuss pricing. 

“The stones look good, the wearer looks good. Nobody needs to know (the cost). Just you need to know.”

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

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