Laura Micheli Jewels

The beauty of imperfection according to a young designer

Architecture plays a very important role in the work of jewellery designers and after Matuta we are happy to take you to the cultivated and kind world of a very young outsider, Laura Micheli Jewellery, architect and creator of beautiful jewellery.

Born in Novi Ligure, Laura grows from her roots. One of her grandparents owned a furnace and, even if she never met him, as a child she was already fascinated by the idea that some buildings in the town were built with those bricks. The other grandfather worked in a bank, he was a man of numbers, a collector who dedicated himself to “do-it-yourself”. Right there, among his tools, the first jewels were born: nails, nuts, and bolts, joined by rubber and metal wires.

Architecture and philosophy in the education of Laura Micheli

Laura Micheli loves philosophy: E. Kant and the romantics have liberated beauty from classical perfection, welcoming the shapeless, chaotic and the Sublime of nature. Laura understands that Beauty can express itself by combining opposites and the Ugly isn’t the denial of Beauty, but only the other side of it. This is the kind of beauty that has always fascinated her, the one that lies in imperfection, in imprecision, in emotion and that she will bring back alive in all her jewels.

The architecture was a choice carved in her DNA. To learn how to design on a large scale, she trains on small architectural models. She learns how to work with wood, how to cast concrete, plaster, and wax. At the same time, she approaches the use of metals such as aluminum, copper, brass, and bronze.

"With the study of philosophy, I realized that imperfection and ugliness are the other side of beauty!"

Laura Micheli

It is not uncommon for architects to be interested in the design of jewellery, but this relationship results above all in the shape of the jewellery itself: geometric shapes, right angles, essential and minimalist lines. For Laura Micheli, the link between architecture and jewellery is above all in creative thinking, in the design method, in the use of references, in recognizing the importance of history and memory. From an aesthetic point of view, however, the jewel has its own expression, more independent and artistic, that of romantic beauty – of Sublime.

Making jewellery Laura has learned the beauty of the imperfect. A jewel is not only beautiful when perfectly shaped and shiny, but when it is the result of creative thought, when it tells a story, of people or places, when it is experimentation when it is handmade, it is “imperfect” and therefore unique.

Laura Micheli Jewellery The beauty of imperfection

In her hometown Novi Ligure there is a small jewelry workshop, inside a woman and her son make beautiful jewelry in precious metals. Thanks to them Laura learns the basics of jewelry: cutting, filing, welding, and polishing. At the beginning she works with aluminum, copper, and bronze, then silver and gold. After the start, it all came spontaneously. She didn’t look for this passion, it found Laura.

Today, after following intensive jewelry courses in Paris, Milan, and London, she decided to establish her own atelier between Zurich and Milan.

The creative process behind her jewelry can start from a formal or aesthetic inspiration, from a memory or from the client’s request. She is often inspired by nature (Euphoria Series), travel (Masai Series, inspired by the practice of ornamental scars in Africa and in particular in Tanzania), art (Circus Series, inspired by the artist Yves Klein and “Body Art”), or memories (the Marmolada and Latemar rings are shaped on the two homonymous mountains in the Dolomites, place where Laura spent her summer holidays as a child).

“I love free and organic forms and creative errors become elements to develop new ideas.”

Laura Micheli

Laura Micheli: Philosophical Jewels

The beauty of imperfection according to a young designer

Laura Micheli loves free and organic forms (One Tool Series). Sometimes the piece is born during the process of realization: a creative error can turn into an element of interest and so when a piece is not yet finished, a second one is already born, as the earrings or rings “Drop“, part of the Wonders Series, born from a drop of wax fallen by mistake on the jewelry bench.

The open “Series” instead of the collections

She decided to create “Series” instead of collections because she was looking for a way to categorize pieces with a similar inspiration or technique that was not closed and finished. A collection, properly, refers to a season and contains a defined number of pieces. Instead, Laura happens to continually add jewellery to a series, even months or years later.

The realization of the jewel always starts with pencil sketches, which help her to focus on the concept quickly and effectively. After the 2D part, the three-dimensional work begins: depending on the model, she works directly with the metal in the form of sheet or wire and proceeds with the various processes such as cutting, hammering, welding, stone setting or finishing. Other pieces are instead shaped in wax and then cast, either with the process of sand casting (as for the Latemar or Marmolada ring) or with the lost wax casting process (as for the earrings “Flecto” or “Fluo”). She never makes the moulds of her pieces before casting and this makes each piece completely unique.

For Laura Micheli Jewellery, design and realization are intrinsically linked

Laura Micheli loves to experiment with materials and techniques considered “eccentric” for jewelry. She introduces notes of color with the use of precious stones, semi-precious stones, and enamels, the latter made with the support of a goldsmith’s workshop based in Milan.

Enameling is a process that dates back to ancient Egypt and can be of different types. She uses “fire” enamel where metal and glass paste are combined evenly through baking in the oven at a temperature of around 800°/900° degrees. The final result can be completely opaque or transparent, called “cathedral style“, which allows you to glimpse the metal and the texture below (as in the “Color” variations of the series Masai).

Today, she works in Zurich as an architect and makes jewellery in parallel, hoping that in the future she will be able to devote herself even more to this latter activity. Laura is proud of her Italian nature and recognizes her great fortune in being able to confront herself with Italian craftsmen, masters in traditional and artistic jewelry.

The future? In September, a month at the Florentine contemporary jewelry school “Alchimia” where she will continue to study artistic jewelry and meet passionate people.

What to tell Laura?

Just great!

Laura Micheli Jewellery is on sale in the collective shop “Die Macherei” in Zurich and online via the website, Instagram and Facebook.

Photo Credits: Caroline Pajak and Janette Gloor

Gallery: Laura Micheli Gioielli Filosofali