“Imperfection is beauty,” Marilyn Monroe once famously declared. After stumbling across Lucifer Vir Honestus—a collection of jewels as unique as its name suggests—we’d have to agree.
The Milan-based designer of this collection, Luna Scamuzzi, is less interested in adhering to some classical tradition of polishing and finishing pieces until they are “perfect.” Instead, she delights in the natural beauty and vitality of her materials. How? On some pieces it seems as if the gold she uses is still in liquid form: it drips and bulges and bubbles. On others, stones are held aloft in craggy, claw-like grasps that sport delicate diamond talons.
But best of all, this collection—cofounded with Luna’s husband Paolo Mandelli—is exclusively ours. Below, Luna was kind enough to fill us in on her process, sources of inspiration and that mysterious name.
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Barneys New York: How did you start designing jewelry?
Luna Scamuzi: After I received an architecture degree, I was captured by the lost-wax casting work that I had seen in a goldsmith’s lab. Now, I can say that the big attraction for me is the method—it lets me express myself in a very instinctive way. I never sketch a jewel—I sculpt with my hands. I make every single model. Then I cast them, and a goldsmith finishes and assembles the pieces. By not drawing the piece, and physically making it, I can be sure that it will be what I have in my mind.
Has your background in architecture influenced you as a jewelry designer?
Studying proportion, history, historical buildings and design—I think that all these experiences have created a way to feel and see the world. My jewels are my way to express myself and what and how I have lived.
Where do you turn to for inspiration?
I never look for an inspiration. Jewelry is a way to express myself, my aesthetic sense. That is made of memories, feelings, thoughts and images.
Can you tell us about your design process?
First I make a model in wax (without a sketch). Then we cast the jewel, finish and put together the pieces, set the stones and voilà! Every single piece is made in our lab in Milan. We are a team of a few hardworking people.
Tell us about the name Lucifer Vir Honestus.
Lucifer was the angel of light and vir honestus is a Latin nickname that means honest man. He was the first goldsmith recorded in Medieval corporation books. My husband Paolo and I found this in an archive during our research when we were in Milan working on our thesis. At that time, I did not have making jewelry in mind, but something suggested that I save this name. When I discovered the fantastic world of jewelry, I understood the meaning of that strange meeting. Destiny?
Has growing up in Milan influenced your aesthetic?
I grew up near Milan, but I think that most of my influences come from my childhood. We used to live in Sardinia during the summer, and at that time there was nothing except sea, perfumes and wind. I have all of this in my heart forever.
What materials do you love to work with?
Beautiful stones! I invest in beautiful and unique stones that I can build my jewelry around.
What’s one piece that you currently can’t live without?
Rings in general. My first piece was a ring, and in my first collection there were only rings.
Why do you think accessorizing is so important?
All accessories give a different meaning and strength to a look. I think jewels are the most important touch in a look for every woman. They are what make the difference in the image the woman wants to give other people. They show the personality of the woman who wears them.
1. Fire opal & diamond organic ring; 2. Tanzanite stud earrings; 3. Diamond double drop earrings; 4. Aquamarine & diamond ring; 5. Diamond small organic hoop earrings; 6. Moonstone bon ton stud earrings; 7. Organic diamond ring; 8. Dentini ring; 9. Diamond stud earrings; 10. Ivory & diamond snake ring