An unlikely marriage between haute Roman jewellery designer Fabio Salini, and nature-loving Brazilian furniture designers Fernando and Humberto Campana has yielded an intriguing collection of jewellery that fuses the low with the luxury. From the ignoble corner, the Campana brothers plucked humble materials from their native Brazil, including bamboo and a local straw called Capim Dourado, or 'golden grass.' Salini, meanwhile, brought buckets of rose gold and the rocks - in this case, brown diamonds which melt into the jewellery's natural warm hues.
The polar realms combust beautifully on these eight one-of-a-kind pieces, which feature silky strands of straw anchored with gold thread into brilliant ray or disc formations, rose gold bases, bamboo frames and wavy trims of crusted diamonds. Logistically, however, they were a nightmare to produce.
'Neither the straw nor the bamboo could be put in water, fire or soldering acids, which is basically every material fundamental to the goldsmith process,' says Salini from his atelier in Rome, where each item was handcrafted. 'I went a bit crazy - it took me over eight months to produce just eight pieces.'
Though Salini is known for blending unorthodox materials like wood, leather and carbon with gold and diamonds, it turned out that there was a good reason that modest straw had never been fused with gold – the soldering process will literally set the material up in flames, as Salini discovered with countless ruined test pieces.
Finally cracking the code involved heating his gold fixtures to an incandescent state and then using the warmed metal as a natural glue onto the bamboo frames. Salini also added negative space to many of the designs as well as steel netting in some cases to shave off weight.
'They are actually extremely wearable and very light,' he observes. At between €35,000 – 65,000 each, they also fall on the extreme side of luxury pricing. Fittingly named 'Dangerous Luxury' jewellery, the collection is now on view and for sale at Salini's Rome atelier. A series of global gallery stops for the collection is currently being planned, including San Paolo, London and New York.