Special Focus: Christopher Anderson

Award-winning designer Christopher Anderson introduces an exciting and original new collection with breathtaking Pietra Dura inlay.

Originating in ancient Rome and travelling later to Persia, Pietra Dura craftsman were brought to Agra, India in the 16th Century to decorate the building of the Taj Mahal. Settling in Agra there over the centuries this skill has been developed to unimaginable levels of detail.

The methods remain unchanged even today. There are two skills in creating this fine art.

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One is creating the component parts of the design. In the traditional floral work with leaves, petals and stems that compose the full composition. These are made using a wide variety of gem stones including Lapis, Turquoise, Malachite, Mother of Pearl, Cornelian, Coral, Jade, Onyx.

The second skill is cutting a recess into the base gem for the component parts to fit. Once in place a secret formula glue is set using hot charcoal. The final work is then polished and set. Keeping first with the more traditional floral designs, I have worked with the craftsmen to complement my own jewellery designs to produce contemporary geometric patterns. The title Pietra Dura in translation does little to express or do justice to the vibrancy and brilliance of colour of this delicate art.

The result is exceptionally beautiful pendants, earrings and cufflinks to thrill, dazzle and amaze.  

This feature first appeared in the October 2016 issue of Jewellery Focus.

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