How Alice Cicolini Is Reinventing the Ancient Art of Enamel
British-born Alice Cicolini conjures exuberant jewels that symbolize a melting pot of cultures by using everything from Italy’s Memphis design movement to the patterns of the Silk Road as inspiration. Many of her pieces are handcrafted in Jaipur, India, in collaboration with artisans, including one skilled in the nearly lost art of meenakari enameling. The technique, originating in 17th-century Persia, requires a fusion of pigmented glass and metal to be poured onto engraved gold jewelry. “My approach is based on the concept of slow luxury, celebrating the beauty of ancient master craft and artisanship alongside fine materials,” says Cicolini. Statement stones are another dazzling feature of her work, from the intense green Muzo emeralds sourced from Colombia to green and pink tourmalines and gray Tahitian pearls.
Career highlights: An exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as at Somerset House in London. Also, a new collaboration with Carpenters Workshop Gallery launching in fall 2019.
Design philosophy: “I take quite a curatorial approach to my work. There are a lot of narratives in the pieces, so I hope people delve into those stories and ultimately add their own.”
See some standout pieces below.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2019 Late Fall issue under the headline “Hidden Gems.” Subscribe to the magazine.