Moscow's Kremlin Museum is holding the first exhibition of a contemporary jeweller in its history – a retrospective of Russian jewel artist Ilgiz Fazulzyanov, following its acquisition of six of his recent masterpieces for its permanent collection.
After graduating from art college in Kazan, Ilgiz F (as he is known)went on to teach himself the art of filigree for which his native Tatarstan is renowned. Experimentations with hot stone enamelling led to the idea of a new context and setting for jewellery creations. He redefined its limitations, surpassing the amount of colours traditionally thought possible in its firing process – and so enamel became his signature.
Ilgiz draws inspiration from the natural world, and bullfinches, butterflies, carp and dragonflies are captured in delicate brushstrokes of subtle colours combined with precious jewels.
Jewels in the crown of the retrospective (running from April 1 to July 31) include the Bullfinches pendant (£25,000), a composition of three birds in white gold, red sapphires and enamel enclosed in a trelliswork of white diamonds, which symbolises the Russian winter and won him the “Champion of the Champions” title at the 2011 Hong Kong International Jewellery Design Excellence competition. Also the Butterflies earrings and ring (price on application) set in gold, diamonds and hot enamel with black nacre pearls, faceted and polished by award-winning cutter Victor Tuzlukov, which represent nature at the moment of the solar eclipse and won first prize at the same competition two years later, making Ilgiz the only jeweller in the world to hold its two highest awards. Another outstanding design is the Swan brooch (£42,000, first picture), his most recent masterpiece, which captures the bird at the instant of flight in black and white diamonds, yellow gold and enamel – with meticulous brushstroke detailing of its wingtip feathers – and both the Red Poppies earrings (price on application, second picture) and the white gold, enamel and diamonds Blue Poppies bracelet (£49,000) and earrings (£13,700, both third picture).
“My work retains the warmth of my hands,” says Ilgiz. “My art has taught me to be attentive to details. The world around us is unbelievably rich as long as we care to look at it up close. Can anything be more beautiful than nature itself? It may appear easy to reproduce a flower or a dragonfly. Yet copying the veins on a dragonfly’s wings accurately doesn’t mean you have captured the delicacy and grace of its flight.”