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Atelier Ray Salenteya - Bewitching Us with Their One of a Kind Art Jewels

Some jewellery pieces not only transcend the ordinary but, in the process, create a world of their own. That can be

said for the pieces crafted by Ray Salenteya, founder and creative director at Atelier Ray Salenteya.

The portrait of Ray Salenteya

From his start in the world of couture to his foray into jewellery design, everything that Ray creates is imbued with profound depth and brilliant intensity. Born in Guang Dong, China, these days Ray divides his time between Beijing and Paris, working on his jewellery and couture collections. As a couture designer, Ray taught himself embroidery and developed many unique couture sewing techniques for his collections. These days, however, Ray is exploring the world of high jewellery and is busy creating fantastic works of jewelled art. “Jewellery design and fashion design are deeply connected,” observes Ray and he seems to have forged this bridge with ease and proficiency.

As a child, Ray was fascinated by the smooth folds and wrinkles fine fabric can hold and this concept has been one of the sources of inspiration for his career in both the fashion and jewellery worlds. Another source of inspiration for Ray’s artistic endeavours is the life and music of acclaimed singer and actor Anita Mui. Although Anita is no longer with us, her work continues to influence Ray’s aesthetic vision. Ray has also been keenly interested in crystals and gems since childhood. Travelling with his parents by road in China, when he was quite young, Ray never missed an opportunity to collect different rocks and pebbles from the rivers and streams they came across, treasuring the moment of discovery as much as the discovery itself. Much later, Ray started handcrafting bracelets which then grew into a deeply felt passion for jewellery design.

For Ray, jewellery design means bringing something modern, new and fresh to the jewellery world. His latest art jewels’ capsule collection of four, one-of-a-kind pieces is a jewelled articulation of the fantastic legends of Norse Mythology. In that, it is a remarkable realization not only of his artistic vision but also his need for creating something that has never existed in the jewellery world before.

The Muspellheim ring which takes its name from the Norse Land of Fire is a jewellery piece that moves you with its concept and design. Fiery, red-plated white gold holds two pieces of garnet within its flickering precious metal flames. One garnet is in a rough, natural mineral state while the other is faceted to perfection. Both gems were carefully selected by Ray to highlight the contrast between their textures and inherent beauty and in so doing draw us into the mythical and glowing land of fire.

The Yggdrasil (Mighty Tree of the Worlds) ring takes us into Alfheim, realm of the Elves of Light- ethereally beautiful and luminous beings who are far removed from the mundane cares of the human world. In crafting this ring, Ray repurposed an 18th Century Chimera Brooch, embellishing it with 18k yellow gold and blue enamel in the organic shape of a never-ending tree. Set with a 3.11-carat fancy yellow diamond and a 4.85 (insignificant oil) vivid green Columbian (Muzo) emerald, the ring conveys the prosperity and grandeur of Alfheim.

Ginnungagap is a stand-alone earring that takes us back to the beginning – to the creation of the nine realms and to the very void where the worlds were first created. In the legend of Ginnungagap, the coming together of the lands of fog and fire (Muspellheim and Nlfheim) create life-giving steam, whereby the origin of the worlds took place. This earring has been crafted from titanium which exhibits all the vibrant colours of the rainbow. However, in this earring, Ray chose to set a fabulous, pear-shaped 8.4-carat unheated tanzanite and two precious pyritized ammonites. The juxtaposition of ammonites with tanzanites, the sculptural feel of the earring and the unabashed use of colour conveys the presence of throbbing, pulsating life energy in a spectacularly artistic way!

The Infinite Reflection of Thy Soul mismatch earrings, take us on a journey within ourselves, to that place where we can be face to face with who we really are, our essence, our soul. Crafted with 18K gold, these earrings are set with diamonds as well as topaz and amethysts. The earrings whisper to us to look into the mirror of our soul, to find ourselves in the facets of these precious gemstones before we lose ourselves to the more existential business of life. Lit up with Norse symbols and design motifs, these earrings are a promise of mysticism expressed through gems and exquisite jewellery craftsmanship.

This capsule collection is a fascinating exploration of volume and proportions in high jewellery. It is full of surprises, in terms of the use of colour and choice of materials. From the orthodox to the unconventional, from restrained to forceful, the collection makes us review our own expectations and prejudices as seen through the perspective of Norse Mythology. In so doing, we also ask ourselves if there really is a boundary between high art and high jewellery. Moreover, it is brimming with fabulous details, which demand not only a closer inspection but deeper consideration as well. For instance, the base of the two rings is adorned with a circular plaque of yellow gold, with Norse runes symbolizing the Compass of Life thus anchoring the idea of fire and light with the quest for Life. Profound and full of meaning, it is such details that make Atelier Ray Salenteya’s jewels so incredibly unique.

It is difficult not to be moved by Ray’s jewellery pieces and it is difficult to ignore the depth, of feelings, ideas and technical jewellery making skill, that underlies each aspect of this capsule collection. While this is a four-piece collection, it does leave one with the feeling that this is just Chapter One in an epic saga of jewels and design.

You can follow Ray Salenteya on Instagram at @wizardray


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