The sensibilities of a sculptor are revealed in Aurora Lopez Mejia’s unusual gold collectibles. “I don’t consider myself a jeweler. Sculpture is my primary medium,” she declares. The art, explains Aurora, is about documenting history. “Every piece I have ever made contains the history of a certain moment in time and is created through inscriptions. These pieces become the vessel on which the messages are inscribed.”
While living in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s, Aurora, started creating “wearable talismans” on which she could “hand-inscribe a letter at a time.” She resurrects the art of hand hammering letters using antique letter stamps in an unlimited treasure trove of one-off pieces. By combining old techniques that only a handful of practitioners can accomplish, she propels the hefty gold talismans into a cool style arena.
The Mexican-born artist’s affinities for art, furniture, sculpture and spirituality trickle into her work, which depicts powerful words with profound meaning. The commissions, rooted in discretion, draw many to her studio. “I document very private aspects of my client’s or collector’s life. It is based on a high level of trust.”
The first pieces of jewelry that Aurora made were rings, which she initially made for herself. Then, for friends as gifts. Through the De Beers Group’s Ten/Ten initiative, a new generation of newcomers now has the option to own a piece by Aurora. “I would love for clients to come along that normally could not afford one of the heavier pieces that I usually make,” says Aurora, who only does private commissions.
Aurora’s Ten/Ten ring is a modification of a design that she has been making for years. “It’s a design that I’ve made for my clients who came to me with family heirloom solitaires and wanted to incorporate the stone in a modern-day ring. It’s about the true circle and the stage on which this really precious diamond sits. I was so floored by the little diamonds that had just so much life to them—and this one was exceptional,” she adds.
The commitment ring is inscribed with a single word, Love on the back of its shank. “Love is a word that I can inscribe on my pieces time and again. My entire body of work is based on love and the connectivity of this word. Also, when you close your hand, you’re holding on to ‘love’.”
Aurora’s inspiration though is an old African ebony ring that she found several years ago. “When I put on, I realized the comfort of wearing a squared off band versus a circular one.” The designer, thus, followed the shape of the finger in a very organic way and created a ring in proportion to the central diamond in a gypsy setting.
“Everything that I do is very symbolic,” she says. “When I create a piece there’s a lot of meaning that goes into each piece. The circle around the diamond encompasses the true unification with no beginning and no end. All the elements, including the material, are symbolic of ceremonial jewelry.”
Aurora’s signature rings tend to feel like gold ingots. “It is part of the experience of wearing one of my pieces,” she adds. And that’s why the Ten/Ten ring is not delicate by any stretch of imagination.
So how did she manage to work around the design brief pertaining to the initiative’s price restrictions (under $4000)? “It was a bit of a challenge,” she admits. “The band looks solid and substantial, but I had to carve it out as much as possible without compromising the piece.”
Additionally, the Ten/Ten project required the use of diamonds from Botswana. “These diamonds mirror the unique unification of a country; it is an example of what can happen when people come together to create a movement of sustainability,” says Aurora.
Look for herTen/Ten ring exclusively on Blue Nile in January 2021.