Cabochon Sapphire and Opal Maple Seed Brooch
18k Yellow Gold / Oxidized Sterling Silver / Sapphires / Black Opal / Diamond (0.42ct)
80mm x 65mm
This piece is currently available as a special order. Please contact us for details on sizing and production time.
Over the years, Tony Lent has created numerous jewelry pieces from pieces of the natural world. Obviously, he has an appreciation for creatures large and small, especially those that are misunderstood, but his observations include flora as well as fauna. His Maple Seed Brooch represents the first naturalistic design that inspired him. That "inspiration" came in a not unexpected form for people who know him, of course: as a child, he used to split them open and stick them on his nose! And we're lucky these seemingly childish experiences stuck with him, because later, when he started making jewelry, he looked again at the maple seed and realized it needed a head. The difficult part, however, was accurately rendering the veins of the propellers, which he wanted to show off. Finding it too complex and time-consuming to reproduce technologically, he ended up drawing it directly onto metal and then cutting it out—a painstaking process, nonetheless, but one that resulted in gorgeous, seemingly delicate tracery. The Nymph Leaf design continued this idea. In this case, he made a mold of a leaf using medical grade silicon. The vein structure of the leaf came out so well, he went with it. The motif of Bacchus's face in a grape leaf, prevalent in 19th century art, prompted him to add a face to the design. He also found the structure of the skeletonized leaf to be magical. A mathematician friend of his told him about fractals, and he started seeing them in leaves. He became fascinated with this almost miraculous degree of natural organization, partly because it clued him in to yet another order of observation of which he had been aware. Originally, he planned to expose all of the leaf's veins, but after a certain point his wife yelled at him to stop. She said it looked like aphids had eaten up enough of it. So he put other little creatures onto the leaf to catch the aphids. As usual, this Anthony Lent piece participates in a narrative of design ideas that spans years of experimentation, but it also has a story of its own: a meeting of artistry with serendipity.