“Spirit is a land of high, white peaks
and glittering jewel-like lakes and flowers.”
The Story of Mountain Spirit
Henn of London have blended the celestial beauty of a rare Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline into an exquisite setting, with scintillating marquise and pear shaped diamonds, to create a unique vision: the luminosity of an alpine glacier glittering amidst the crystalline splendour of fresh snow. Gliding across the escarpments on a sunshine breeze an eagle soars in the shimmering light, carrying an immensely precious and beautiful gift…
This visionary piece is the result of a sensitive dialogue between master goldsmith Ingo Henn and an erudite international client with a sophisticated sense of originality and an eye for fine detail. A versatile jewel, sublimely designed and perfectly engineered, it was originally a pendant centrepiece, featuring one of the rarest gems in the world, suspended from an elegant diamond necklace. It is now the highlight of a unique harmoniously balanced pendant brooch.
Henn of London’s Mountain Spirit emanates from the rarefied air of a sublime mountain-scape. The extraordinarily luminous turquoise beauty of a single Paraiba tourmaline is held in the delicate embrace of a sparkling white diamond setting. The brooch is composed to suggest the regal outline of an eagle flying above a sheer glacier, offset by a star studded canopy of snow glistening in soft winter rays. The sumptuous gem at its heart symbolises the pure blue glacial waters, complemented by the glittering ice crystals of the diamonds.
This singular piece is laden with history and utterly modern, all in the same breath.
Held by a single collector since its discovery, the precious gemstone at its centre passed into the hands of the Henn family business through a long standing personal connection, with Ingo specifically in mind for the creation of a one-of-a-kind piece. Based in London, the accomplished master goldsmith returned to the seat of the family business in Idar-Oberstein, Germany to view it personally.
“Initially I had only seen a photograph of the Paraiba tourmaline and this prompted the first sketches. The cool blue of the stone had earlier suggested a glacial meltwater theme and as fate would have it, when I arrived for my first viewing of the gem, it was a sunny winter’s day, crisp snow covering the ground and a brilliant blue sky overhead,” said Ingo.
“I was immediately captivated by its overwhelming beauty and tantalising colour, and this vision was illuminated by the pure light reflected off the fallen snow outside. I then realised the full potential in the initial ideas and put pencil to paper again at once. The design process evolved as a direct response to the stone, which is always Henn of London’s creative starting point. The Paraiba had been cut in a spiralling smooth free form, or a baroque shape as we call it in the trade, preserving and enhancing the tangible feeling of movement and life in the original crystal. I wanted to work with that uppermost in my mind.”
The exceptional gemstone presented a rare and exciting opportunity to produce a piece destined to ignite interest wherever it was seen – the resulting jewel is a perfect alliance of artistry and fine craftsmanship.
The dynamic shape of the Paraiba tourmaline was also a guide to the pendant design. The upper and lower sections of the jewel draw out the sensuous curves of the gemstone. They are formed by flowing white gold tapered bands which enhance its contours and are pavé-set with exceptionally white diamonds (E-vvs/vs). A single rare diamond briolet (3.12 ct., D-vs1) is attached to the base, its mobility adding to the natural sense of movement inherent in the whole piece.
A diamond necklace was created to complement the Mountain Spirit pendant, designed to enhance its elegant flow. The rationale was a striking detachable pendant piece which could be worn either with the custom-made necklace or with a simpler white gold chain.
The finished Mountain Spirit pendant and necklace were first exhibited at the March 2015 Baselworld Watch and Jewellery Show in Switzerland. A friend of the client, a jeweller and gemmologist, spotted the ensemble at the exhibition and enthusiastically shared images with the future purchaser.
The pieces were then showcased at the Hong Kong Jewellery Fair in September, where they also attracted a great deal of attention. The vivid turquoise blue Paraiba tourmaline in its striking diamond setting shimmered alluringly inside a display window, drawing admiration and interest. It was at this Fair that the client and his friend first met Ingo and were able to properly view both necklace and pendant. Falling instantly in love, the client decided to buy the pendant. As a mountaineer, he was equally captivated by the story behind its creation.
He expressed an interest in wearing the piece on special occasions, such as red carpet events. This led Ingo to suggest the design of a separate brooch, from which the Mountain Spirit pendant with its Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline could be hung. Encouraged by regular email exchanges with the client, several designs were produced. The favoured concept was chosen and it resonated with the alpine theme: a majestic eagle gliding down a mountain valley, carrying the riches of the world.
The final pendant-brooch incarnation has kept its versatility. Alongside the most refined detail in the stone settings and the superlative quality of the diamonds used throughout the jewel, the brooch features delicate hand engraving across two sections, suggesting a snowy cornice. The Mountain Spirit centrepiece can also be worn as an elegant pendant, which can be attached via a separate loop set with a marquise diamond of exceptional white quality (1.02 ct., D-vs1).
Mountain Spirit, the name of this beautiful piece, finds its inspiration in the love of mountain landscapes shared between the client, Ingo and his father, himself a keen mountaineer, as well as in the jewel itself and its abstract representation of alpine scenes in all their mystical grandeur.
“Soul is at home in the deep shaded valleys.
Heavy torpid flowers saturated with black grow there.
The rivers flow like warm syrup. They empty into huge oceans of soul.
Spirit is a land of high, white peaks and glittering jewel-like lakes and flowers.
Life is sparse and sound travels great distances.”