In­sects in sculp­tural jewelry

A sculp­tural jewelry de­signer turns to creepy crawlies for aes­thetic in­spi­ra­tion

Northern Living - - CONTENTS - TEXT ALYOSHA J. ROBILLOS PHO­TOG­RA­PHY NICCOLLO SAN­TOS He­lena Alegre. In­sta­gram.com/he­le­naale­gres­culp­tural­jew­elry. 0998-5664715

Molten sil­ver and, on oc­ca­sion, liq­uid gold take the shape of arthro­pods and rep­tiles in de­signer He­lena Alegre’s dis­tinct brand of wear­able art.

Seen in var­i­ous states of ar­rest on the pol­ished sur­faces of semi-pre­cious stones are bee­tles, drag­on­flies, wasps, and lizards, among other crea­tures that buzz, flut­ter, and crawl. Alegre’s choice of sub­ject is per­haps what makes her sculp­tural jewelry strik­ing. With the hands of a sea­soned sil­ver­smith and the heart of a frus­trated en­to­mol­o­gist, she turns into mag­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the an­i­mal king­dom what may oth­er­wise be deemed as un­sightly or odd.

“I love bee­tles more than any other in­sect. In an­cient his­tory, they rep­re­sent new life, rebirth, and rein­car­na­tion,” ex­plains Alegre. Like a true coleopter­ist, she cites the mighty Dy­nastes Her­cules and Go­liathus

Go­lia­tus as her fa­vorites. No two pieces bear the same like­ness. Alegre ham­mers, scrapes, chis­els, and carves away in her work­shop un­til the pre­cious met­als take their fi­nal form.

She makes sure that 75 to 85 per­cent of her ma­te­ri­als are sourced lo­cally. Alegre also col­lab­o­rates with the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try and em­ploys Bi­colano ar­ti­sans, jewelry mak­ers, and black­smiths as a way of giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.

The jewelry de­signer is also known for cre­at­ing mod­ern tam­bourine neck­laces with in­tri­cate fil­i­grees— a trib­ute to the her­itage of Ca­marines Norte, which to her is home.

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