Filipino’s bejeweled sculptures fit for royalty | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

“Orbis: At the Stroke of Midnight” is a pure gold-plated brass construction encrusted with sapphire, green onyx, amethyst, lapis lazuli, clear quartz, rose quartz, yellow calcite, agate and pearls.
Gold-plated brass neckpiece with carnelian, onyx, red-green agate and pearls with a top golden
bangle of rose quartz, black agate and pearls, and a bottom bangle embellished with black
agate, onyx and pearls

A faceted gemstone sparkling in various shades of blue and purple lends a calming effect, even if only viewed on a screen.

“Have you heard of this stone?” asks jeweler/kinetic sculptor Ivan Co via video call.

The vibes of the mystic topaz are known to release tension, as with Co’s choice of other healing stones—aventurine, garnet, onyx, jade and amethyst—that dot this complex, 3D kinetic construction. Titled “Arca,” it is a series of five rotating bejeweled rectangles, shaped by 24-karat gold-plated brass curlicues.

“It’s as if you’re looking at a vortex,” says Co.

Co has made a crossover from designing fine jewelry to kinetic sculptures that are like 3D architectural pieces or mini technical constructions. The materials are the same as in jewelry—precious metals and gemstones with different spiritual energies.

“Arca” is one of the three pieces that will be exhibited at the J.W. Marriott Grosvenor House in London in October. The exhibit coincides with the launch of a limited-edition art book, “Strive for Perfection: The Royal Edition,” that commemorates the 95th birthday of Queen Elizabeth.

The book showcases the world’s most luxurious products that are “fit for royalty.” It is described as a “lifestyle guide for high-net-worth individuals,” mostly collectors of Rolls-Royces and Bentleys.

“Lozenge: A Boxful of Secrets” is a 24-karat diamond-shaped, transparent sculpture with smoky
quartz, green amethyst, rutilated quartz, rose quartz, clear quartz, carnelian, moonstone, yellow calcite, white turquoise and agate.

Gold and gems

When author and royal biographer Robert Jobson saw Co’s works, he was transported into another world and decided that Co should be included in “The Royal Edition.”

“His ingenuity and craftsmanship clearly elevate art to a higher plane,” says Jobson in a press statement. “It brought me back to the glamour of ancient royalty, where gold and gems were acclaimed.”

Hence, Co is the only Filipino who is represented in the book and in the exhibit, both organized by the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club (RREC) and royal publisher, St. James Publishing House.

Two of Co’s works are in the book. “Orbis” is a circle of multiple pendulums with arabesque motifs and gems that elicit positive feelings. “It’s my idea of a perfect world that can happen through healing,” says Co.

“Lozenge” is a set of diamond-shaped, angular-patterned frames whose gentle swinging movements mesmerize the viewer. The artwork is Co’s homage to the Golden Lozenge, a mysterious artifact from Stonehenge that amazed scientists for its highly sophisticated geometric patterns. While many people were impacted by the pandemic, Co says sales in the past two years have been his best. “During the lockdowns, collectors got bored and some got depressed. They became more interested in my works, which promote focus and stillness,” he says.

As of this writing, an investment house is assessing the value of his works, which could fetch seven figures. With the Royal Seal of Excellence bestowed by the RREC, “Orbis” and “Lozenge” would cost more.

“Orbis: At the Stroke of Midnight” is a pure gold-plated brass construction encrusted with sapphire, green onyx, amethyst, lapis lazuli, clear quartz, rose quartz, yellow calcite, agate and pearls.

Nature and art history

Jewelry design is in Co’s genes. His father, Fai Co, established Hoseki Jewelry, which is known for nontraditional designs. While studying multimedia arts at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, the younger Co was already designing for Hoseki. He further honed his skills at the Gemological Institute of America in Hong Kong.

A decade ago, Co went on his own, doing odd jobs, until he formed his own company, Ornamento, specializing in unconventional fine jewelry. “I was pushing the boundaries of making jewelry into little wearable armor,” he says.

His jewelry is very intricate, inspired by nature forms, geometry and art history. However, when he got married in 2015, he designed an understated rose gold wedding band for his wife, Dior. “The style was based on her personality. She’s not showy,” he says.

Always pushing the limits, Co ventured into kinetic sculptures, applying jewelry techniques and engineering. Brass, coated with pure gold, is the basic framework in all the works.

“In both jewelry and sculpture, you think of structural integrity, balance and support. The difference is that jewelry must be comfortable when worn,” explains the artist.

Golden collar neckpiece adorned with carnelian, onyx, yellow calcite, crystal tassel, and pearls is overlapped by a necklace with a pendant of onyx, light green agate, garnet, crystal tassel and

Cycle of life

Co adds that gemologists have their own methods for grading stones. Delving into their mystical qualities, he favors onyx, which is known as a protector from negativity; aventurine, which clears blockages; and amethyst, which harnesses mental clarity and focus.

Waxing philosophical, the jeweler-sculptor explains that art, in its perfection, is a celebration of the poetic and the divine.

While working, he plays soothing music and performs his work in a meditative state. Collectors remark that the kinetic sculptures have a transformative effect on them.

“His pieces calm you, and you can really see how in tune the artist is with his humanity and spirituality,” says Jobson.

One of Co’s collectors acquired “Rotondum,” a wheel of golden, intertwined flowing lines, suggestive of the cycle of life.

“Every time the client looks at it, he is reminded of where he started at the bottom and how he reached the top of success,” Co says. “Most of my collectors are early adopters who are proud of being ahead of the curve.”

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.