Design Stories: Brazil

If only I could have arrived like a migrating bird to the mouth of the January River in Rio de Janiero, and plunged deep into the azure ocean. What a beautiful verdant land I would have seen.

The excitement of carnival was intoxicating in Rio with its vivid colours, feathers, samba and rhythm. It stretched my imagination out to the beaches and along the pavements of Ipanema and Copacabana (designed by the great Brazilian architect Roberto Burle Marx). I wandered through the Lapa district beneath the viaduct. I stopped and admired the past in the Largo Boticario. Tropical forest plants let the colours and the hidden calm of the Amazon appear and disappear. The pandeiro (or tambourine) carried me, dancing, back to the coastal cities.

I hope you will enjoy this Vibrant Brazil collection and that you will come into the shop when you are next passing, or peruse the collection online.

1. Copacabana Design...

Nothing prepares you for the fantastic black and white swirling beach pavements of Rio de Janiero designed by Roberto Burle Marx, the architect turned landscape designer. He created them in the 1970s and with the long beach front stretching for miles you get swept up in the samba like rhythm they create. Copacabana beach undulates like a great black and white ribbon right up to the sand. Ipanema plays out a sort of 60-70s hopscotch pattern, and here and there some trees offer a little shade and colour.

For these incredible patterns to work you need space, be it on a beach or in the design of a jewel. With a cuff I would have space. I knew I could run with the pattern, in a bold enough way around the wrist to cause a stir, as Burle Marx did on the beach. Which beach to choose? And should it be gold or silver?

2. Acai Design...

The Acai berries hang in the most wonderful panicles in the rain forests of Brazil. I loved the ice creams, drinks and deserts made with them, they were part of life in Rio in my first few days there and I could not resist bringing their story back with me as a jewel. My jewelled berries hang from golden branches as pendants and as earrings.

For my 35th anniversary this year I have made a unique pair of Acai earrings set with aquamarines, some beautiful rare marquise facetted tanzanite's and diamonds. There is a matching pendant too.

3. Frangipani Design...

One of my most favourite flowers is the frangipani. Soft white five petalled blooms with a tinge of pink that often lies on the ground around the tree, with a perfume that evokes all the magic and mystique of the tropics. It is intoxicating. I love to collect them in the early morning, drinking in their sweet elixir leaving them on the breakfast table while the sun creeps up to greet another day with its warmth.

I cut the stones for the petals in curved domes, faceting the opaque and translucent rough material so they would catch the sunlight. Designed to be worn all day, they weigh nothing! Delicate claws hold each petal in place around a small diamond. The diamond is like dew caught after a steamy rain forest night. Frangipani is made out of mother of pearl, blue chalcedony, green chrysoprase, and amethyst specially made for 35th anniversary.

3. The Pandeiro Design...

I remember being on the beach one evening around carnival time when I heard the tambourine being played. It was the Portuguese who brought the tambourine to the Brazilians and now the thought of Brazil and its carnival without it seems an impossibility. My golden pandeiro is double sided so you can have any combination, wear it with diamonds or wear it plain if you prefer. I have also made it in silver and in all of them the tiny zils tinkle as they move and as you move, just like in a real tambourine. Did you have tambourines at your party or at your wedding?

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