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Crucified necklace - Part of Heidi Vornan's master works

Crucified necklace - Part of Heidi Vornan's master works

Cross as a pattern and symbol has always intrigued me. I think it fits perfectly in my dark, gothic and edgy style of design. For me the cross is foremost an antique torturing tool symbolizing the dark history of humans.

Cross, as a symbol, has a long history which likely originated from the intersection of two lines or objects. Think of someone in the past putting two sticks in perpendicular lines and thus creating a cross pattern. The simplicity of the shape made it a symbol which might have emerged independently in various cultures. It has been used as a symbol by pagan religions throughout Europe and western Asia but the cross has also been used for purely ornamental purposes. Some theories suggest that the cross might have initially represented the division of the world into four elements or cardinal directions.


The evolution of the cross symbol involves a complex interplay of cultural, religious, and historical influences over time. The cross has been widely recognized as a symbol of Christianity from an early period. In the context of Christianity, the cross gained prominence as a symbol of Jesus Christ's crucifixion. But before that during the Roman times, both criminals and dissenters were hung on crosses in public places to inspire fear of authority and respect for law and order. The word ’excruciating' was invented by the Romans to describe the shame and pain of crucifixion and the cross was a universal symbol of shame and death. The use of crosses for execution was probably an Assyrian or Babylonian invention, but was widely used by Persians in the 6th century BC before being adopted by the Romans around the 3rd century BC. Christianity took the cruel torturing device to its imagery and changed it to symbolize faith. And therefore crosses can very often be seen in church towers as well as marking graves. As a symbol of a person's
faith there are also jewelry in the form of a cross.


In the 20th century, the cross underwent a transformation in both meaning and usage, extending beyond its initial role as solely a symbol of Christianity. Some examples are the outlaw motorcycle clubs In the United States which adopted the Iron Cross in the 1960s as their symbol marking rebellion and probably also for the shock value. And around a decade later the first metal bands such as Black Sabbath flirted with the black magic and took the cross in their imagery. Crosses have been popular in metal music imagery since that. Also in the 1970s punk rockers took the cross to their imagery. And furthermore from the 1980s to present day cross jewelry in the form of pendants and earrings are seen on pop musicians such as Madonna. Wearing cross jewelry doesn't necessarily carry any deeper meanings than giving the impression of the wearer to be rebellious and wanting to shake the norms. Because the cross is so well known and an established symbol, cross jewelry has also become an item of fashion. Jewelry in the form of a cross is never totally out of style and they return regularly to the catwalks and covers of fashion magazines. In these cases the cross jewelry is a fashion statement and pure decoration. The current fashion style for example favors especially big-sized crosses with a lot of gemstones.


I find inspiration in the theme of death and its evocative imagery. The cross, for me, serves as a profound symbol of death. In my perspective, death is not just an end but something mystical and inherently beautiful. Therefore the cross was a natural choice for my masterwork. I specialize in crafting elegant dark themed and stylish jewelry that exudes luxury and is meticulously fashioned with high-quality materials. The cross form fits perfectly in my dark, gothic and edgy style of design, accentuated by the use of a dark color palette, dark rhodium plating and black diamonds.

Though I use the imagery and aesthetics of popular culture, tattoo art and metal music scene I don't necessarily share their values or rebellious thinking. For me the cross doesn't represent anarchy and I don't want to think that my crosses are meant for provoking. I don't see the cross as a religious object. It is for me a mere torturing device and a symbol of death. But I find it fascinating that the cross can carry so many meanings. Also beyond any deeper symbolism, my jewelry adds a distinctive edge to any outfit, elevating its overall aesthetic.

Technically the cross is one of the most difficult forms to make by hand because of its strict geometrical form consisting of straight vertical and horizontal lines. A small unevenness in the form and you can see immediately that the cross is not symmetrical.

This cross pendant is also inspired by my love for Art Deco jewelry. I am particularly drawn to the black-and-white style and fascinated by the invention and popularity of the baguette cut in jewelry during that era. This assignment provided a wonderful
opportunity for me to create something truly unique - a standout piece for my Black Diamond and Crossed Collection. The masterwork aligns seamlessly with my jewelry brand, as its essence revolves around the keywords 'Welcome to the world of dark luxury, distinctive, and unique fine jewelry, unlike anything else. Handcrafted to perfection in Finland.'

My masterwork is exclusively crafted from black diamonds. I have a profound appreciation for baguette - cut diamonds and the prominence of the cut during the Art Deco period. The central part of the cross features black baguette - cut diamonds set in a channel setting. I quickly realized that I had to start the project by finding these baguette cut black diamonds first. It took me a year to get the right sized stones which were also of the high gemstone standards, necessary for this project.

The remaining sections of the cross are set mainly with small-sized, black, brilliant-cut diamonds, with slightly larger black brilliants adorning the decorative terminals. All of these brilliant-cut diamonds are meticulously bead and millegrain set. Opting for an all- black aesthetic, I chose black rhodinated 18k white gold as the material. While these materials presented their own challenges in the manufacturing process, achieving the desired black hue was crucial for the overall design of the cross.

 

       Crucified necklace
Crucified necklace

 

I always want to add something extra to my jewelry projects for challenging myself and furthermore to both make the manufacturing process more interesting and to learn something new. The saw piercing and setting stones ajour are indispensable in high end jewelry and antique jewelry and therefore I didn't want the cross to be just flat. These traditional handcraft techniques crucial to achieving refined aesthetics can't be replicated through casting. Additionally, the use of black rhodium plating, necessary to my design, can't be used in cast jewelry. In my opinion a true high end piece of jewelry has to be perfect even in the smallest details. This commitment to meticulous craftsmanship is what defines a well-made and exceptional piece of jewelry.


"For me the macabre is beautiful
when the form is aesthetically beautiful." - Heidi Vornan

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THE HUGO COLLECTION
THE HUGO COLLECTION

THE HUGO COLLECTION

Heidi Vornan’s jewelry collection Hugo is homage to the beloved Finnish symbolist painter Hugo Simberg who’s seen as a national treasure in Finland.  Simberg, a turn of the century artist, is espec...

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