According to the Chinese zodiac, we’re now entering the Year of the Rat, which symbolizes strength and new beginnings. It’s the dawn of a new decade as well as a new zodiac cycle, so it’s a good time to look to the future with optimism and an open heart. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate all that has come before, the history, the music, the art, the zeitgeist—everything that makes us feel human, so we can preserve our most beautiful creations.
The artists of Vienna-based jeweller FREYWILLE have ventured to the corners of the earth to explore history and mythology. They’ve studied the fine art of centuries past and present in order to transform their inspirations into pieces of jewellery relevant in today’s artistic landscape.
“Our interpretations are a unique take on famous paintings—we never copy a part of an image, but get inspired by the general aesthetic, a detail, or its artistic or historical background,” says CEO Friederich Wille.
“Our designers interpret with a current view, a current aesthetic. Therefore, the final illustrations reflect a modern point of view, brought to life by the time we live in.”
FREYWILLE captures the humanity and emotion of classical art in vibrant enamel. It interprets works of great masters and transforms them into contemporary pieces that have the same dedication, passion, and attention to detail as the original pieces—by such artists as the founder of Impressionism, Claude Monet; or the father of Art Nouveau, Alphonse Mucha.
In the Vienna workshop, it takes FREYWILLE artisans over 100 steps to create a single piece of fire-enamel jewellery, and up to two years for an original design or tribute piece to reach the showroom floor.
In the 1980s, artisan Simone Grünberger-Wille, wife of founder Friedrich, developed FREYWILLE’s exclusive enamel process. It starts with precious enamel or liquid glass and specially configured colour mixtures to ensure consistent tones.
Next, the enamel is applied, cleaned, and fired in several layers, with each one using a special colour combination to achieve the brand’s trademark vibrancy. After this meticulous process is complete, the enamel is ready to be affixed to mountings of 24k or 18k gold or rhodium-palladium.
The finished product impresses not only with its colour and artistry, but it appeals to something deeper.
“We all feel. We each experience an array of emotions every day. It is this common understanding of humanism and the way we channel our cherished ideology through jewellery which connects us all together,” says Wille.
In FREYWILLE’s most recent collection, you’ll find the exotic colours of Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Polynesia. Other projects celebrate the passion and culture of Russia, finding inspiration in the playful Russian Matryoshka stacking dolls that celebrate traditional colours and patterns, and in the classical ballet Swan Lake.
FREYWILLE is also celebrating the Chinese zodiac as we enter the Year of the Rat. The team has studied ancient Chinese culture to create a collection full of deep reds and shimmering gold tones for auspicious luck in the new year. Forging these designs in enamel is also a nod to the ancient cloisonne and porcelain work of the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, bringing ancient techniques to modern works.