Strong Inspirations from Lebanon

Lebanese jewellery designer Ralph Masri, unveiled his Heliopolis collection

The designer expresses his deep love of history and the “elements and patterns” from the historical site of Heliopolis in Lebanon through wearable pieces. The graphic line – realised in yellow gold and rose gold and adorned with diamonds and rubies – features earrings, pendants and a few rings added to the mix. “The collection that comprises nearly a dozen pieces, with time, will expand to include different colourways and I’m working on bracelets as well,” adds Ralph.

What made you choose a historic symbol, Heliopolis, for inspiration? 
RM:The archaeological site of Heliopolis (commonly known as Baalbek) in east Lebanon is one of my favourite places in the world. It houses the largest Roman temple in the world (the temple of Bacchus) and within the site are many different layers of different civilizations that have conquered the city at different times in history: the Romans, Greeks, Ottomans and the Phoenicians to name a few. Being a history freak, I’ve always wanted to create something inspired by this place. The level of detail preserved in the structures is stunning. The new designs are inspired by elements and patterns found in the site.

What key motifs in architecture have you drawn upon – any references that you could draw upon to elaborate on?
RM:The primary element I’ve drawn upon is that of relief. The Romans created stunning relief details in their structures and sculptures and all the new pieces reflect that: they all have two layers with gems inset on a lower layer and the top layer kept in plain polished gold. This creates a lovely element of relief as well as contrast between the sparkle of the stones and the shine of the gold, and gives the pieces a nice sense of three-dimensionality.

What prompted you to use yellow gold as your key palette?
RM:Can’t go wrong with yellow gold!

What kind of finishes have you employed?
RM:They all have polished finishes, and those with rubies have blackened lower layers for the colours to pop out.

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