Ornament Magazine

VOL39.1 2016

Ornament is the leading magazine celebrating wearable art. Explore jewelry, fashion, beads; contemporary, ancient and ethnographic.

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47 ORNAMENT 39.1.2016 EARRINGS of carved green chrysoprase with faceted blue sapphires and diamonds in hand-fabricated eighteen karat yellow gold, 5.33 x 1.78 centimeters, 2013. Photographs by Pam Perugi Marraccini. ANCIENT PEARL COLLECTION RING of eighteen karat yellow gold, fine silver and sterling silver with carved mother of pearl and inset diamond, 1.53 centimeters diameter, 2015. Opposite page: AQUA DOLCE NECKLACE of eighteen karat y e l l o w g o l d s e t w i t h n a t u r a l s u r f a c e a n d f a c e t e d aquamarines, 40.64 x 5.08 x .64 centimeters, 2010. O n a mid-April morning Lee Marraccini is in his element, talking about his work in his shop, Angelo Jewelry, which he opened in 1998 in the old Michie Building on the downtown mall in Charlottesville, Virginia. Wearing gloves with their tips cut off, Marraccini shows off a ring featuring handcarved mother of pearl with eighteen karat gold and silver and diamond accents. The piece is stunning in its simplicity and depth—like the jewelry equivalent of Venus on a half shell. The ring is a part of Marraccini's latest collection, which he has been developing over the past two years. The mother of pearl came from his wife, Pam Perugi Marraccini's grandfather's collection of materials. From Carrara, Italy, one of the marble centers of the world, stone sculptor Araldo Perugi came to America in the early 1900s. He worked on a number of projects in the northeast. One of the altars at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City is inlaid with the same mother of pearl that forms the foundation for this new collection. Marraccini points to its unusual thickness: "The shell creature must have been really big," he surmises. He discovered that he could carve into it and not lose the pearlescent quality of the surface. He has made bracelets, pendants and other ornaments from these remnants of Araldo's altarwork. Turning to a set of chrysoprase earrings with sapphire accents, Marraccini points out how they have great movement. He carved the warm green mineral stone into MARRACCINI designing at his blackboard. Marraccini considers his "main talent" to be "designing by parts." Starting with sketches on the blackboard, he develops concepts for new pieces and watches them "metamorphose" through metal manipulation, fabrication, casting, and stone inlay.

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