The Story of Zeste

The Zeste rings are inspired by a Byzantine gemstone ring dating from the 12th–13th century, now in the Metropolitan Museum of New York. The maker of this ring went to great lengths to showcase the large, cushion cut gem, a technique with roots in the Roman world. The pronged setting, which holds the stone in place, was already used between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. The sides of the bezel have been worked with granulated gold, used through the early medieval period, but which was lost in the later Middle Ages.

Example of Etruscan gold-work: these earrings were made around 550 BC, the total size is smaller than two centimeter each. Louvre, Paris.

The ancient art of granulation originated around 2,000 BC, the Greeks and the Tuscans had brought the technique around the 3th century BC to a state of perfection. Granulation is a technique of fusing tiny gold spheres to the surface of jewellery. The balls are arranged to create a pattern or design and add texture. To make these tiny gold spheres, small pieces of gold are heated to the melting point and they automatically ball up into granules. They look like small pearls, therefore they are also referred to as “perlé”. The sides of the prongs of our Zeste ring are widened and finished with granulation. The delicate perlé on the collet of the gemstone is subtly repeated in the ring: on the side of the single stone ring and on top for the double Zeste.

We updated and streamlined the look of the Byzantine ring while respecting the original form and idea. Instead of a cushion-cut gem, we opted for a buff-top cut, following however the cushion-cut squareness. A buff-top cut combines two classic styles. The top is domed like a cabochon or cushion, while below the girdle, the gem has facets on its pavilion. The buff-top cut brings the best of both worlds together in one stone: the smooth, angular gem with masculine undertones is yet sparkling, lively and feminine thanks to the facetted pavilion.

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