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Time-limited luxuries

The man who designed a city turns his attention to something more delicate

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Time-limited luxuries

February 17 2011
Avril Groom

Starting a new career as a jewellery muse at 102 might seem a little late, but the legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer was more than up for the task when jewellery designer and compatriot Roberto Stern approached him. Niemeyer’s revolutionary designs for Brasília had made him a long-time hero of Stern, who has forged several collaborations outside his discipline and, realising that time was passing, he finally plucked up courage to get in touch. They got on well, with their favourite sources of inspiration – nature and women – a point in common.

“He showed our design team his sketches, gave them some ideas and spoke about his passion for curves, whether of a woman’s body or the Brazilian landscape,” says Stern. That was enough to inspire them – Niemeyer approved every stage of the prototypes, in hammered gold or white gold with diamonds, whose fluid shapes reflect what Stern describes as “his simple and surprisingly unique drawings with a very particular trace”. The range is as distinctive, modern and yet timeless as Niemeyer’s architecture – light, delicate and strong.

The collection, priced from £1,000 to £30,000, arrives at H Stern’s Harrods boutique on February 21. Unlike that other well-known architect/jeweller combination – Frank Gehry for Tiffany – it will not expand into an ongoing collaboration. Though not strictly limited, once the stock sells it will not be repeated, and neither will there be further collections – after all, Niemeyer is now 103, though he is still working and still goes to his office.

First picture: flower pendant in yellow gold. Second picture: Brasília bracelet in yellow gold. Third picture: Pampuhla ring in white gold and diamonds.