Green Cell

2012 (made)

Zanella, Annamaria

Height: 66.5 mm, Width: 54 mm, Depth: 34 mm

M.16-2012 MET

Silver, enamel and powdered lapis lazuli, by Annamaria Zanella, Italy, 2012

Hollow oval form of finely beaten silver, its roughened surface unevenly mottled with lime green matt enamel over shades of dark blue and turquoise. A large oval aperture with jagged edge reveals the interior which is coated with a rich blue pigment of powdered lapis lazuli. The back has a dark patination rather than enamel and a double pin which follows the curve of the brooch.

The Italian jeweller Annamaria Zanella (b. 1966) achieves extraordinary and beautiful effects by treating conventional materials in unconventional ways. In this brooch the hollow silver form, beaten eggshell-thin, has a roughened surface which is unevenly mottled with lime green enamel over shades of dark blue and turquoise. Appearing part-eroded, part-distressed its subtlety seems to owe more to nature than to the craftsman’s skill. Through the jagged aperture glows the contrasting softness of ground lapis lazuli, a solid yet powdery surface of pure blue which Zanella describes as 'a caress for your eyes and for the soul'. The piece is titled 'green cell'. Zanella has explained that the cell represents the moment when life begins while the green represents the earth and the blue, water. As with many of the finest pieces of contemporary jewellery the simplicity is deceptive: her artistic vision draws on experience gained from years of technical experimentation and innovation.

Location: Jewellery, room 91, case 46, shelf B, box 1

View this object on the V&A website