The Story of Opus Incertum

The extensive network of Roman roads, criss-crossing the Roman empire, were built using the Opus incertum technique with its typica irregularly shaped and randomly placed stones. The builders made good use of whatever stones were available along the way, resulting in an ‘uncertain’ pattern. The Via Appia is one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads of the Roman Republic, connecting Rome to Brindisi in southeast Italy. The building of the road started in 312 BC and is many parts of the original road have been preserved, some are even used by cars today.

Over the centuries the word ‘opus’ – which simply means ‘work’ in Latin – became associated with art and music. Italian composers started to number their compositions, using the word ‘opus’ followed by a number. The term ‘magnum opus’ refers to the ‘masterpiece’ of an artist, originally the piece of work produced by an apprentice aspiring to become a master-craftsman in the old European guild system. In modern use it is a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person’s career or a work of outstanding creativity, skill, profundity, or workmanship.

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We consider each life an Opus Incertum, a work of art, a masterpiece, composed of unpredictable stones. There are stepping stones on our life path, ready to help us cross a river or move in a new direction. We will reach milestones: a diploma, a marriage, the birth of our child, a professional success or an academic achievement. Sometimes we become rolling stones: we change places, we move freely into the world and come to rest in another place. All these stones are linked together and form a unique and individual path, big and small victories of life linked together in an Opus Incertum road. Our Opus Incertum collection symbolises your life as a unique road, composed of different stones, resulting in a masterpiece.

The choice of the colour scheme to represent milestones and smaller stepping stones, should symbolise life. We selected a myriad of dazzling greens and blues, since life starts in water and, once born, the absolute first thing we need is oxygen. Without air and without water we can simply not survive. We chose different shades of blues to symbolise water and different greens to symbolise air, since the precious oxygen is produced by green trees and plants.

The joy of colour is at the heart of each Opus Incertum piece. We used only natural gemstones such as blue agate, green turquoise, green-blue chalcedony, lapis lazuli, turquoise, green agate, phrenite, chrysophase, blue topaz and crystal quartz. We paired and layered natural gemstones to obtain an abundance of colour in unique, unexpected hues. The domes are irregularly facetted from both sides, as a reminder of the opus incertum roads. The gems are set in warm yellow gold links, partly etched by our master-artisans in a Florentine finish and partly smooth and polished, as opposites. Life can at times flow smoothly and easily, other times not so much. The light penetrates and illuminates the precious metal, radiating a warm and different glow on the Florentine finish.

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We went through great lengths to find the perfect colours and combinations, ranging from deep night blue over turquoise to blue-green to intense green, spanning half of the colour wheel.

“Opus Incertum is a hallmark of Sassi’s savoir-faire. With rounded shapes, audacious volumes and dazzling colours, each of our jewels is a veritable work of art. Our strong commitment to traditional craftsmanship and our love of coloured gemstones is confirmed in this stupendous collection.”

Renilde Vervoort

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