The Aesthete: Silvia Furmanovich talks personal taste

The Brazilian fine jeweller’s exuberant style draws on ancient art and her global travels, with each piece representing “a fragment of a story”

Silvia Furmanovich at home in São Paulo
Silvia Furmanovich at home in São Paulo | Image: Tommaso Rada

My personal style signifiers are my prayer-bead necklaces. I’ve bought many of them – made from different kinds of seeds – in India and Nepal, and others are antique. Last year in Korea, I went through the ritual of making my own in a monastery in the mountains. 

Silvia Furmanovich’s antique Japanese box in which she keeps incense
Silvia Furmanovich’s antique Japanese box in which she keeps incense | Image: Tommaso Rada

The last thing I bought and loved was an important cubic pyrite from a Spanish mine, while I was on a trip to Telluride and Boulder, Colorado. It’s so rare to find a perfect cube formation. Crystal Galleries, 1302 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302 (crystalgalleries.com).

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The thing I’m eyeing next is a vintage robe from the Ainu, an indigenous people of Japan’s Hokkaido region, that I saw in a boutique called Shibui in Brooklyn. I always wear a vintage kimono or kaftan during the day. I discovered Ainu robes by studying the collections of the Brooklyn Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From $10,000; shibui.com.

The pool at The Greenwich Hotel
The pool at The Greenwich Hotel

A recent “find” is The End of History, an Aladdin’s cave of treasures in Manhattan’s West Village. It specialises in vintage glass from all over the world. Last time I was there, I admired a 1950s Italian vase with a trompe-l’oeil necklace around it. 548 1/2 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014. 

Her multicoloured coat by Etro
Her multicoloured coat by Etro | Image: Tommaso Rada

The best book I’ve read in the past year is In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki, who describes different tones of black in amazing ways. There are always layers of depth in Japanese art, in which you’ll find something hidden. I’m currently working on a Japanese-inspired collection called “Obi”. 

Her cubic pyrite from a Spanish mine
Her cubic pyrite from a Spanish mine | Image: Tommaso Rada

My favourite room in my São Paulo apartment is my bedroom. It has big windows and a wooden ceiling and is a cosy place to read, watch films and practise yoga. I no longer just accumulate things; everything in this room has to have a meaning. I keep my favourite incense there in an antique Japanese wooden box that I bought from the dealer Peter Petrou at PAD London last year. It’s from the Taisho period, from 1912 to 1926; it is carved in the form of a turtle with a youngster on its back and has an exquisite red-lacquered interior. peterpetrou.com. 

One of her prayer-bead necklaces
One of her prayer-bead necklaces | Image: Tommaso Rada

An indulgence I would never forgo is massages. One of my favourites is with a therapist called Yasue at the spa in Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca. It is one of the most exquisite and relaxing places I’ve been to, a true oasis in the middle of the city. The 250-year-old barn beams that make up the swimming pool area were brought in from Japan. Shibui Spa, The Greenwich Hotel, 377 Greenwich St, NY 10013 (+1212-941 8900; thegreenwichhotel.com/shibui-spa).      

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An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Ilha do Ferro, in Brazil’s northeast region of Alagoas, a small community by the river renowned for its local handicrafts and artisans, sometimes called the Brazilian “Marfa”. It has a very special energy. You find incredible sculptors in that whole region who use local woods and roots of trees to create whimsical, colourful, lifelike pieces. One of my favourites is the self-taught artist Véio from the Sertão, who sculpts haunting and beautiful half-human, half-animal figures. His work was on view at an exhibition organised by Marni during the Venice Biennale a few years back, so he is starting to gain international recognition. 

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was an oversized, multicoloured Etro coat made of wool jacquard. It’s already one of my favourite items in my closet. I bought it on 1stdibs, as it was from a past collection. 1stdibs.com. 

My favourite app is the meditation app Insight Timer. I am trying to use it every day. insighttimer.com. 

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