Semi-precious gemstones have long been used in creating furniture. Traditionally, stones like lapis, tiger eye or quartz are added as glittering ornaments, lending their precious, art-like aura to the object they adorn.
In the course of several furniture and art fairs across this year, we discovered an exciting new movement in which designers, rather than just decorate pieces with ‘pretty’ stones, set the focus on the raw and unique character of semi-precious stones.
Challenging the classic supporting role of stones, capturing the raw beauty of the semi-precious gems is a new driving force for designers.
Sideboard by Francesco Perini made of onyx and oak, evoking the idea of moss growing across the surface. Pieces like this challenge the traditional aesthetics of precious decorations, as they evoke an elemental and geographical feeling to the surface, creating a unique vertical landscape.
More than just decoration, interior designers and buyers are discovering the spiritual values attributed to stones. Kathrine Wildt O’Brien, owner of New-York based Matthew Studios, shared in recent FT interview how Crystals have been used for centuries as talismans and how people are paying attention to these values when planning their homes, rather than just aesthetic objectives. In her work, Wildt O’Brien specializes in rough quartz and semi-precious gems.
Agate, known is a healing stone, is the centre of this side-table called “Madeleine”. Set in a simple antique brass construction, the attention lies with the mesmerizing blue agate. Pieces like this one feature a quiet opulence. Abundant in details, hectic at times, yet quiet, they are commanding the presence throughout the entire room they are placed in.
There’s a particularly challenging part to working with semi-precious gemstones, whether it is in the world of furniture or timepieces.
Stones are often difficult to shape and their physical characters widely vary between stones. There are only few craftsmen in the world who master working with these stones. Given the relatively small market size for semi-precious gems, large-scale investments in high-tech machinery would not be economical. In result, this industry remains one of manual crafts. Shaping semi-precious stones has always remained a world of generational-expertise and free-thinking creatives who pursue new paths. From sourcing the stones to the final piece, it takes many skilled hands to work the gems. The complexity of teamwork involved into creating these one-of-a-kind pieces ultimately makes customers appreciate and treasure the work even more.
An example of such collaboration are Armonia grand pianos, created by Steinway & Sons together with Italian design house Baldi Home Jewels.
Though these opulent pieces of art may not suit everyone’s taste (or wallet for that matter), they are without question a true testament to exquisite craftsmanship. Stones, such a lapis lazuli or malachite, are placed upon the surface of the piano in an ancient method known as mosaico russoand then polished by hand.
Unleashing and celebrating the uniqueness of these stones, truly makes an object one-of-a-kind. Customers increasingly seek individual statement pieces with character, rather than just a ‘copy-paste model-home-like’ kind of furniture.
Just as furniture designers question and rethink their fundamental aesthetics, the quest for individuality and celebrating the natural beauty of semi-precious gemstones are fundamental principles to MYKU timepieces. Click here to discover our collection featuring an exclusive selection of semi-precious gemstones.