arious forms of craftsmanship have been transitioning from the hands of selected few into those of the masses. It is no surprise to anyone if we upcycle a chair, make our table, or knit a scarf.
However, this could not be said about jewelry making, which remains shaded by a veil of slight mystery. Unless we are talking about making seashell necklaces.
Québécois designer Yves Lemay does not take down the veil but only brings more rituals and tradition in the mix. As we have previously mentioned, before his career as a jeweler, Lemay was making armors.
This time, Mr. Lemay is opening up his box of treasures starting with his most precious restored work from 1972 Sri Lanka.
“This box is very special to me,” he claims. “The first time I saw the box, I was struck by the sheer beauty of this antique work of art. I also realized that with major restoration work, I would be able to dramatically improve the quality of the surfaces, literally giving the whole piece a new life and a very different visual impact.”
The history of the jewelry box
The history of the box starts with the history of one of the oldest gemstone trading families in Sri Lanka. The family business beginnings date back to 1890 when two young men from Sri Lanka, decided to go to Australia.
The family business continuously expanded for almost 80 years and was successful in Australia, the United States, Europe, and Hong Kong.
The Jewelry Box was made in 1972 but no official documents regarding the commissioning of it have been saved. The history of the jewelry box can be observed only in the remaining photos from the family archives.
Lemay estimates it would have taken the Sri Lankan silversmiths about 6 months to finish the artwork.
Ornamentation and motifs
Perhaps the most distinctive style of jewelry in Sri Lanka is the Kandyan one, which incorporates south Indian as well as European influences. This intricate and refined style has been widely used by the Sri Lankan royal families throughout the centuries.
Kandyan designs depicting leaves, flowers, and seeds can be found all around the jewelry box.
The Jewelry Box was made of 22K gold plated sterling silver. It consists of 4 main parts, each hand made separately and then joined together. The box originally included 811 (805 at the time of Gemological Institute of America certification, with Mr. Lemay replacing 6 that fell during the years of use) round and oval, faceted and cabochon cut gemstones.
It is set with ruby, sapphire, garnet, spinel, zircon, and cat’s-eye chrysoberyl.
Jewelry box after the restoration
Jewelry pieces often house more than just a proof of craftsmanship. They also serve as historical monuments, collecting and reflecting family and world history.
The artwork is currently in perfect condition. It took Mr. Lemay and his team 5 full months to restore the Jewelry Box.
It is currently held at the high-end jewelry company Erose’s office in Shanghai, as Mr. Anton Hudzik and Madame Selina Zhao are the Yves Lemay brand official representative’s in mainland China.
If you have an inquiry about his high-end custom made jewelry service or want to know more about Mr. Lemay and his world, check out http://yveslemayjewelry.com and contact him directly!