Light and Shadow in Gold

“Light is time thinking about itself”

Octavio Paz


The art of jewelry is somehow the art of playing with volumes in a metal. It is sculpting in a material that shows or hides light in a unique way. It means dancing with subtlety in a Mediterranean summer day and in the shadows of a winter dusk. It is going beyond the obvious to reveal the beauty of details.

Light represents life, knowledge, inspiration, reference, compass, future. In his essay on The Light of the Sun, author Álvaro Galmés Cerezo explains the idea of light widely spread during the Middle Ages. This approach is imbued with the sense of transcendence so characteristic of that time and consists of three concepts. The first is Lux, the source of light, referring both to the sun and to God. The second is Lumen or the light itself, which fills the space making it transparent. The third is Color in the case of an object displaying its pigmentation, or Splendor for the brightness of the bodies.

Reflecting on these three concepts, it becomes evident why pieces of jewelry are associated to both material and spiritual realms. They constitute the quintessence of tangible beauty, like palpable pieces of sun; but also embody the allure of the light as a metaphor of the soul, the divinity, the amulet or charm. Jewelry connects us with this planet, earthly relation. It also reminds us of our love, friendship, faith or fulfillment.

Glamés Cerezo goes further explaining how light makes life more lively. He turns to a poem by Octavio Paz to expose the idea:

“the light sculpts the wind in the curtains,

makes each hour a living body,

comes into the room and slips off,

slipperless, along the edge of a knife

The light goes off through a path of reflections

and comes back to itself:

a hand that invents itself, an eye

that sees itself in its own inventions.

Light is time thinking about itself”

Light is a sculptor of tangible and intangible, material and time, and in jewelry it finds the perfect allegory.

Shadow embodies subtlety, reflection, mystery, contemplation, seclusion, rest. Japanese writer Jun’ichirō Tanizaki in his “In Praise of Shadows” essay on Japanese aesthetics reflects on the shadows as a virtue of Japanese culture:

“The quality we call beauty, however, must always grow from the realities of life, and our ancestors, forced to live in dark rooms, presently came to discover beauty in shadows, ultimately to guide shadows to beauty’s ends.”

A dark room is elegant and the dazzling reflections of gold in such space have a beauty that cannot be overcome by the most blinding glare.

Imagine the beauty of the subtle glow of a jewel in darkness, feeling for the beholder’s eye like a caress of a soft wave in her hands. For Tanizaki, traditional Japanese artisans working with laquer conceived their works to be lighted with a lantern or a candle: “objects turn somber, refined, dignified.” Their art using gold “came of understanding how it gleams forth from out of the darkness and reflects the lamplight.”

Tanizaki explains further the relationship between darkness and gold, taking the eyes of our imagination for a walk through a dark room where gold shows its best glow:

“And surely you have seen, in the darkness of the innermost rooms of these huge buildings, to which sunlight never penetrates, how the gold leaf of a sliding door or screen will pick up a distant glimmer from the garden, then suddenly send forth an ethereal glow, a faint golden light cast into the enveloping darkness, like the glow upon the horizon at sunset. In no other setting is gold quit so exquisitely beautiful. You walk past, turning to look again, and yet again; and as you move away the golden surface of the paper glows ever more deeply, changing not in a flash, but growing slowly, steadily brighter, like color rising in the face of a giant. Or again you may find that the gold dust of the background, which until that moment had only a dull, sleepy luster, will, as you move past, suddenly gleam forth as if it had burst into flame.”

In Aubarede 7, each jewel is conceived to play with light and shadow, representing the material and spiritual dimensions, for you to deepen their meaning and make them part of yourself.