dimanche 26 février 2012

A drop of perfume around your neck: Duncan Stevens’s Parfumare

This 54mm amphora is a tech-era priestess’s jewel: it holds 1 ml of the scent of your choice, which you can either dab on skin from the tiny aperture at the top, or let evaporate as the metal is heated by your skin (no risk of spillage because of the weight at the base of the pendant).

The young South African jeweler-artist Duncan Stevens thus revives a multi-secular tradition of perfume-bearing adornments – not only fans and gloves, but also pomanders and, further back, pieces of jewelry holding solid or liquid fragrances, such as the one worn by Salammbô in Flaubert’s eponymous novel:

“She had as earrings two little sapphire scales, each supporting a hollow pearl filled with liquid scent. A little drop would fall every moment through the holes in the pearl and moisten her naked shoulder.”

Perfume-bearing jewels are nothing new: many brands, most recently Thierry Mugler and Jean-Paul Gaultier, have offered them as promotional gifts or sold limited editions. And a quick Google search will yield several ceramic jewels that can sprayed with fragrance.

But Duncan Stevens’s streamlined, modern-archaic design makes his Parfumare a particularly elegant, covetable piece. And unless you spring for the gold and diamond limited edition, the price point means you won’t have to mortgage a kidney.

Gold and diamonds limited edition version : €460.00, $575.00 & £418.00  (18k Gild & Sterling silver pendant with 9 diamonds on chain)
Black Rhodium/silver version and diamonds limited edition version is  €325.00, $406.00 & £295.00
Sterling silver version on black silk is €61.00, $77.00 & £56.00 (depicted above)
Black Rhodium version on red silk is €62.00, $78.00 & £57.00 (see French version below)

For more information:  www.duncanstevens.com 

8 commentaires:

  1. Beautiful! I love that these are coming back into fashion -I particularly like that you can choose the perfume, and that the design is so simple and classic. 2012 is indeed turning into the year of the scented object. From the lovely (these pendants) to the gauche--strawberry-scented blue jeans? Laundry musk iPod??
    Now will fat-cones of perfume, melted on the head, as in old Egypt, ever come back into fashion?? ;-)

  2. Marla, I agree: they're nothing more exasperating that a pre-scented object. But these are indeed beautiful, and I'd envision filling one with a drop of extrait.
    As for the cones of fat, I remember reading somewhere they were not actual representations of what was worn in Ancient Egypt: they symbolised the fact that women were perfumed. It seems more likely for such a style-conscious people -- who'd have wanted to mess up those pristine linen garments?

  3. I've read those same musings- Lise Manniche thinks they may not have been literal perfumed cones, and I tend to believe her. But then, I've seen people do stranger things, and maybe the Egyptians had the equivalent of lobster bibs when they wore the cones?? ;-)

  4. I guess I'd go for the symbolic interpretation... As for the pendant, I did write Duncan Stevens to ask whether there was any risk of spillage (as we don't tend to have slaves to do our laundry) and he assured me the piece was sufficiently heavy at the base to guarantee leak-free enjoyment.

  5. Lisa, I certainly do too, and am thinking it would make a perfect gift for fellow perfume lovers. I

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