Spring’s supposedly right around the corner, but it’s still sweater-and-boots season. And while there’s still a smattering of snow on the ground where I live, covering a wonderful collection I saw at JCK Tucson 2019 seems apropos.
Atelier Zobel by Peter Schmid’s new Frost series is a love letter to some of winter’s prettiest phenomena, but the brooches, rings, and especially the cuffs, are perennially chic, perfect for wearing now or while lounging by the sea or a shimmering swimming pool.
One installment captures the etched textures and beguiling lusters of frost (its crystalline fairyland quality, as magnificently displayed on the windowpanes of Atelier Zobel’s workshop in Konstanz, Germany). There’s a lovely German word for these frost patterns—frostblume, which translates literally to “frost flowers.” Inspired by the natural beauty of these “blossoms,” Schmid and his team applied layers of platinum over rose gold, adding glistening diamond droplets and aquamarines created by master lapidary artist Tom Munsteiner of Atelier Munsteiner. The gemstones, with their jagged, broken mirror shard–like facets, are characteristic of the Munsteiner family’s famously unique, sculptural approach to stonecutting. Atelier Zobel has partnered with the Munsteiners on innumerable collections, and the relationship spans more than 50 years.
The other installment is an abstract, interpretive homage to falling snowflakes, and Schimd’s executions remind me a little of the artist James Whistler’s Nocturne series, which captures explosions of fireworks against stormy night skies.
The snowflake designs also take inspiration from the simultaneously beautiful and dangerous aspects of the icebergs that float by the coastline of Canada in early April. To Schmid, they serve as a symbol of fragility as well as eternal beauty, since icebergs have been drifting the Earth’s seas for thousands upon thousands of years.
Each Snowflake design is crafted by hand, and the layers of palladium, 24k gold, and silver are fused together with a mouth-blown torch. According to Schmid, controlling the flame with your breath is a little like a musician achieving the perfect note. An even flame is required to perfectly meld the metals together, a process that must sometimes be repeated several times so that the layers appear just so—distinctive, yet artfully mixed.
See more from the collection below.
Top: Frost cuff with 28.63 ct. aquamarine and 0.55 ct. t.w. mixed diamonds in 18k rose gold and platinum, $36,948
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