Strong & Precious Art Foundation:
Unveiling Ukrainian Heritage Through Jewelry
Strong & Precious Art Foundation, founded by Natasha Kietiene and Olga Oleksenko, unveiled their 3rd project at this year’s GemGeneve May 11-14. The project, titled ‘How Precious UA’ shines a light on the rich tapestry of Ukrainian culture as a whole, showcasing its reflection in the art of jewellery.
The exhibition immersed visitors in a captivating storytelling experience, showcasing the extraordinary talent and craftsmanship of Ukrainian artists. Through a blend of beautiful design and sophisticated symbolism, the exhibition celebrated the timeless beauty of Ukraine’s cultural heritage, bringing it to life through the art of contemporary jewellery design.
This year, the Foundation has collected 6 extraordinary Ukrainian creative think tanks that presented their jewellery and explored the intersection of the past, present and future of Ukraine through their designs and shapes. The members of the exhibition were both big and small Ukrainian jewellery designers and brands: NOMIS, Inesa Kovalova, Drutis Jewellery, Gunia Project and Yuval’ Studios.
NOMIS has masterfully created a black pearl necklace with a cross pendant, which represents the timeless concept of light and darkness. The pearls on the necklace are arranged in binary code to spell out the word ‘freedom’. Hence, the piece symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, with the black pearl reminding us that freedom always follows even in the darkest times, searching for a glimmer of light.
Inesa Kovalova brooch named ‘Links’ combines industrial structures and nature’s beauty with a Donbas region industry-inspired structure made of titanium and 18k gold adorned with diamonds and a rare, high-quality sunny heliodor from Volodarsk Volynskii, symbolizing unity between East and West of Ukraine, man-made landscapes and nature. Ukrainian heliodors of this size and quality are quite rare finds on the market. This one was sourced by Nomads, exceptional gem dealers of Ukrainian origin.
The idea behind Drutis Jewellery mUAvement Ring is that in a fragile and delicate world, there are simultaneously some permanent and fixed things that unite and drive people. Ukraine is driven by a bright future for our country, which is represented by a clear, pure and natural Volyn Topaz. The ring’s cog has been crafted from Mariupol steel and Ukrainian nickel. The ring is set in gold, as we are driven by our precious united freedom-loving people.
The ‘Kolosinnia’ necklace by Yuval’ Studios serves as a symbol of Ukraine’s indomitable spirit, with a design inspired by the metallurgy of Donbas region which is the east of the country, golden wheat ears of the south, and a whorl resembling a twisting mountain road in the Carpathians mountains at the west.
GUNIA Project one-of-a-kind gold and diamond necklace represents the unparalleled advancement and symbolism of Trypillian culture, accompanied by carefully developed packaging that follows the contours and texture of the Trypillian Venus.
Strong & Precious Art Foundation proudly presented their debut piece, the onyx earrings set ‘Blackout’, intricately crafted to draw inspiration from black and white photos of dark Kyiv during blackout with a thin light string made by the car’s lights on the roads. It is the main item of the exhibition, created especially for the ‘How Precious UA’ project.
What made the presentation special this year was the showcases. Made of glass in the shape of columns they created a visual effect of ‘floating jewels’, which made the whole composition especially elegant and captivating.
Furthermore, the presentation was enhanced with an engaging video panel positioned at the rear. These panels showcased picturesque Ukrainian landscapes, fostering an immersive experience that invited viewers to delve into the rich tapestry of Ukrainian culture and forge a profound connection with the nation’s cherished symbols.
Each exquisite piece of jewellery not only possessed its own symbolic significance but also served as a conduit for the designer’s profound insights and emotional reflections on the ongoing war in Ukraine.
‘Through the seamless fusion of traditional symbols, innovative design, and impeccable craftsmanship, each jeweller piece became a work of art that reflects the essence of Ukraine’s rich history and its contemporary spirit. Our aim was to transport visitors on a journey that transcends time, unveiling the deep-rooted connections between past and present, and illuminating the enduring beauty of Ukrainian culture. Every attendee has experienced the captivating allure of this exhibition and witnessed the talent of our featured designers,’ — Olga Oleksenko, the Co-founder of the Foundation.