And Now, For Something Completely Different

For many jaded editors, jewelry designers may come go and go. When a unique kind of jewelry designer pops up out of the toaster, it is only fitting to sit up, pay attention and take note. In this case, the name of French-born, Dominique Aurientis comes to mind.

Aurientis and her renderings stand out for good reason. First off, she truly knows and understands the art, fashion and craftsmanship of jewelry and haute couture. That is because she has a degree in French Literature from the University of Paris, La Sorbonne, and she trained as an accessory and jewelry designer with Christian Dior, Givenchy, Lanvin, Celine and Nina Ricci, This in addition to working as Eyewear Designer and Studio Director at Salvatore Ferragamo and Emilio Pucci.

Today, Aurientis’ hand-made, and mostly well-priced ($150-$3,000) pieces sell under her own label – Dominique Aurientis Paris – at posh national stores, the ilk of Neiman Marcus, Ultimo, and Tootsie’s. Working around the theory that bigger is better and that biggest and more bold is always best, the designer’s new grouping takes inspiration from her love affair with Bali (she moved there in 1997, and opened a jewelry and home store), along with her interest in the culture, art and architecture of Florence, where she lived in 2000.

The collection makes it point, largely due to Aurientis’ deliberate coupling of the delicate flora and fauna of Bali, along with the elegant toughness of Florence’s hard-edge, cosmopolitan flair and finesse. Thus, it makes sense that there is a strong feeling for largesse, rotund, bracelets, intricate, multi-chain necklaces, highly embellished brooches, rings, earrings and the like. Equally interesting as a tie in to the design repertoire are the far-off-sounding names of the groupings which individual pieces fall under; names such as “Arabesque”, “Dimple Ami”, Modern Barock”, “Old Teak” and Tresse Wood”; each of which instantly bring to mind thoughts of old world objects d’art, all mixed up with avant-garde, contempo styling.

In the end, all things across the collection come together neatly, most likely because of Aurientis’ mixtures of raw and precious materials; i.e., lots of huge, cut stones, pieces of glass and bronze; precious woods, resins and studs.

Not surprisingly, each piece takes on its own character and voice, no matter if worn alone, or layered together; one over the other, as a stack of stylish multiples, which for many jewelry aficionados, could look quite new, very moderne, and totally cool. Considering the tough economic climate in which we all currently live, that thought really seems to make a make a lot of sense, both from a design and retail standpoint, n’est ce pas.

— Adrienne Weinfeld-Berg



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

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