Recognizing the value of your West African heritage is one thing; embarking on a quest to discover that of others is quite another. Exploring symbolism, Parisian-Beninese designer Catherine Sarr crafts fine jewelry rooted in “cultural commonality, design and art.”
Geographical boundaries have never been a barrier for Catherine. She has in the past, considered many cities her home including Paris, London, and Dubai. Her passion for jewelry was rekindled during her travels, and reinforced with a career in the diamond and fine jewelry industry. “I have traveled to a lot of places—India, China and Japan—and have always connected with people from all walks of life. I explore what we have in common; I look at forms, shapes and symbols that transcend cultures, and give them back to the world through my designs.”
In 2014, when Catherine launched her brand, ALMASIKA, she wove the threads of commonality into a visual vocabulary for gold wearables. Her contemporary designs are a study in minimalism and how elemental shapes can translate into powerful adornment.
Catherine’s collaboration with the De Beers Group’s Ten/Ten initiative, which reminages commitment rings through the eyes of independent designers using ethically sourced diamonds, translates her aesthetics and signature style into engagement rings for the very first time. Revisiting her popular Berceau collection of sculptural nesting pieces that trace the body’s contours, her artful Serene rings have a poetic resonance that lyrically interprets two streams flowing in sinuous harmony and enveloping a rock. “I decided to incorporate the fluidity of the Berceau into the new Serene rings; while the diamond embodies love and the powerful energy arising from love, the ring reflects life and love, both evolving together and forever,” Catherine says.
For Catherine, the ring crystallizes the union of two souls for an eternity. “It is romantic, emotional, and physical,” she says. “The design traces an ancient Egyptian tradition of wearing the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand. The vena amoris (vein of love) was believed to run from the finger to the heart. It’s a romantic idea and I have embraced it.”
Although gold has always been at the forefront for the designer, this time she let the diamonds from Botswana and their provenance guide her. The brilliant cut solitaire is the star of the design, enveloped by four undulating gold bands. Conjuring up an engagement ring within a specific price band is not easy but Catherine was up for the challenge. Excited by the idea that these rings were at an attainable price point, what spurred her further was the fact that she was making rings that would last a lifetime, and beyond.
“I designed a ring that I’d love to wear. It’s a style that can evolve with time,” she says. She points out that The Serene Rings can be styled with wavy stackable bands from ALMASIKA.
The limited-edition Serene commitment rings by Catherine Sarr are part of the Ten/Ten program and will be sold exclusively on Blue Nile in January 2021.